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The Danger of Electrical Injuries on Atlanta Construction Sites

By Grant Law Office on August 9, 2021

A sign on a fence warning unauthorized people to not enter a construction site.

Workers on construction sites may not be aware of potential electrical hazards, which makes them more vulnerable to serious accidents. An electrical current cannot be seen, heard, or smelled — only felt, at which point it is too late to avoid injury. Contractors, site managers, and employers have a responsibility to inspect the jobsite, identify potential electrical hazards, post warning signs, and erect barricades to protect workers from harm.

How Electrical Accidents Occur on Construction Sites

Electrical injuries can happen in different ways on a jobsite. The following hazards are the most common causes of electrical injuries in construction, as reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):

  • Contact with power lines: Overhead and buried power lines carry high voltage electricity. The main risk of contact with power lines is fatal electrocution. This type of accident also carries a high risk of serious burns and falls from elevations.
  • Lack of ground-fault protection: Wear and tear from normal use of electrical equipment can cause insulation breaks, exposed wires, and short circuits. Without ground-fault protection, this can result in a ground fault that sends electrical current through a worker’s body. Lack of ground-fault protection can lead to serious electrical burns, fires, explosions, and fatal injuries.
  • Path to ground discontinuous or missing: All power supply systems, electrical currents, and electrical equipment on a jobsite should be grounded. Frequent inspections should be performed to ensure the path to ground is continuous. When a power supply to electrical equipment is not grounded, or the path has been broken, fault current can travel through a worker’s body, causing burns or death.
  • Equipment not used properly: For safety features built in by manufacturers to be effective, electrical equipment must be used in the manner for which it was designed. Examples of misuse of electrical equipment include using modified tools or cords; using circuit breakers or fuses with the wrong rating,; using equipment outdoors that is labeled for indoor use only; and attaching ungrounded, two-prong adapters to three-prong tools and cords.
  • Improper use of flexible cords or extension cords: Normal wear and tear on flexible cords and extension cords can loosen or expose wires. To reduce the risk of electrical injuries, it is vital to use factory-assembled cord sets, three-wire type extension cords, connection devices, fittings, and cords equipped with strain relief, and only extension cords marked with a hard or extra-hard usage designation code.

Prevalence of Electrical Injuries in the Construction Industry

In the most recent year for which statistics are available, there were 1,900 electrical injuries involving days away from work and 166 electrical fatalities in the U.S. The construction and extraction industries accounted for 43% of all occupational electrical fatalities, as reported by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFi). Construction had the highest rate of electrical injury worker deaths.

Liability for Electrical Injury or Death on Construction Sites

If you have sustained electrical injuries on a construction site, get emergency medical treatment and report the incident to your employer as soon as possible. You should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to cover related medical expenses and reimburse you for a portion of your lost wages. If the negligence of a third party (someone other than your employer) caused or contributed to your injuries, you could be entitled to hold that party liable in a personal injury claim for compensation.

Contact Grant Law Office at (404) 995-3955 for dedicated, aggressive advocacy after a serious electrical construction accident. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys are a husband and wife team with a successful track record for our clients.

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