Electrical injuries are a risk to most people who work in any kind of industry. From the potential for electrocution from basic outlets in offices to electrocution from major electrical lines, workers could be exposed to a range of voltages and potential injuries.
Thousands of fatalities have occurred because of electrical shocks. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) database details 4,255 fatal shock incidents over the last 125 years. OSHA also categorizes some deaths as electric arc burns, which resulted in 179 additional deaths.
How can you prevent electrical shocks in the workplace?
There are a few things employers should be doing to minimize the risk of electrical shocks in the workplace. Some include:
- Making sure all outlets are grounded
- Making sure outlets are not overburdened
- Encouraging the use of appropriate safety attire when working with electrical units or devices
- Providing on-the-job training on how to recognize electrical hazards
What happens if someone is shocked?
Not all shocks are life-threatening, but they can be dangerous. Any shock that is 5 milliamperes or greater can lead to pain and strong involuntary reactions. Above this level is when people may start seeing more significant injuries, such as the loss of muscle control, extreme pain and cardiac arrest. Essentially, the stronger the amperage, the more likely it is that someone will suffer a fatal electrocution.
All types of electrical accidents can lead to significant burns. Arc and flash burns are caused by high temperatures due to an electrical arc near a person. Electrical burns happen when electricity courses through the body. Thermal burns may happen if you touch overheated conduits, energized equipment or conductors.
No matter how the burn and electrocution happens, it’s important to call 911. Emergency care may be needed. Such care can be expensive. An attorney can help you file for workers’ compensation.