Electrical injuries typically occur as a result of accidental contact between a worker using a tool and an unsecure electric current. The moment of contact is traumatic and the consequences catastrophic. Specifically, the event often involves a worker making contact with the electric current of a machine, tool, appliance, or light fixture; contact with wiring, transformers, or other electrical components; contact with overhead power lines; or contact with underground, buried power lines.
Electrical injuries are often severe, including extensive burns, loss of limbs, or even death. As noted by the Journal of Safety Research, “In 2006, contact with electric current was responsible for approximately 4% of the fatal injuries in the United Stated, accounting for 250 deaths.” 1 In 2013, the US construction sector accounted for over 50 percent of electrical fatalities from all industries combined. According to the Journal of Construction and Engineering Management, “the electrocution rate in construction was 12.2 deaths per million workers, whereas the all-industry average was 1.3 per million workers.” 2
Many electrical injuries and electrocutions happen as a result of a decision-making error, 3 including for example:
According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, a fatal injury is considered work-related if 1) the event leading to the injury occurred while the employee was working, and 2) the event is verified by at least two independent data sources. 4