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Construction workers: Be aware of electrocution risks

May marked National Electric Safety Month, which aimed to recognize and shed a light on how any workers who regularly work with electricity can stay safe.

Even with the proper training, working with electricity can carry a high risk of injury for any worker.

Electrocution is one of the Fatal Four

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Fatal Four in the construction industry include:

  1. Falls from equipment, ladders or scaffolding;
  2. Getting struck by vehicles or other objects;
  3. Getting caught in trenches or other excavation areas; and
  4. Electrocution.

Even though electrical shock is one of the most common risks workers are near each day many workers are unaware of the serious risks electrical exposure creates.

Construction workers must be aware of the risk

There is no denying how dangerous it is to work with electricity. Electrocution is death or severe injury by electric shock, electric current passing through the body. An electrical shock can often lead to injuries, such as:

  • Burns;
  • Cardiac arrest;
  • Nerve and tissue damage; and
  • Seizures.

If workers suffer any of these injuries in the line of work, they are entitled to collect workers' compensation benefits (Maryland Code, Labor & Employment §9-501). They may also be able to collect personal injury compensation, depending on the circumstances of their injury. In these cases, it is often beneficial for workers to consult an experienced attorney to determine how they can move forward to get the compensation they deserve.

How can workers stay safe?

In recognition of National Electric Safety Month, Occupational Health & Safety outlines ways that workers can avoid serious injuries, including:

  • Taking time to identify all electrical hazards on the worksite;
  • Turning off the safety on circuits, and testing circuits before working;
  • Using the proper tools and protective equipment; and
  • Understanding OSHA's rules regarding electricity.

Safety should always be a worker's priority, and therefore workers must be aware of the risks involved in working with electricity not just during the month of May, but year-round. Additionally, if a worker identifies lose or uncapped wiring or other unsafe conditions, they should be sure to notify their co-workers and supervisor for both the protection of the place of employment or worksite and to document the issue in the unfortunate event the employee or his or her co-worker is injured by the unsafe condition.

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