Construction workers come into contact with situations that often deal with electricity. Sadly, approximately 400 people die each year due to exposure to electricity at high voltages. Electrocution and electrical shock are serious risks that many workers face when they work in or around construction sites. The person doesn’t have to be a construction worker to be exposed to risky situations either. Anyone who works around power lines or has metal equipment around power sources is at risk.
How the Accident Happens
Some people wrongly assume that accidents involving electricity happen because an electrician wasn’t careful, but it can happen to other workers on a construction site too. When working on a construction site, walls are open and electrical wires are not encased behind the walls. That leaves the potential for accidents. Overhead power lines can be a problem for some workers too.
- Electricity jumps or arcs from object to object
- Construction equipment jostles the power lines
- Short circuited wiring
- Electricity is conducted through water
Types of Injuries
The victim of an electrocution or electrical shock will have various injuries from mild to very severe including death from electrocution. When current passes through the person’s body, it can cause serious burns at the entrance point as well as the exit point.
On its path through the body, it could disrupt the body’s normal electrical signals, which can cause a heart attack. It can impact the brain, lungs and spinal cord. Along with serious problems with internal organs, electricity can cause muscle damage. It can lead to the loss of a limb through loss of sensation or amputation due to the damage caused by electricity.
The burns, muscle damage and organ damage are not the only types of injuries that can occur from electrical shocks. The shock can cause a person to fall to the ground. This can result in broken bones and head trauma too.
Aside from the physical injuries, there can be some brain trauma that causes loss of memory, anxiety, personality changes and irritability. The entire personality of the victim can change after a severe electrical shock.
Factors Contributing to the Damage
The amount of damage to the body depends on a few factors. The first factor is the current’s path through the body. The second factor is whether it’s high voltage or low voltage and the third factor is the type of current, whether it’s alternating current or direct current.
New York Labor Laws
In New York, there are special protections for construction workers who are injured on the job site. If a construction worker is injured, he or she is allowed to recover damages from the company that contributed to the injury. The exact sections of law are Section 200, 240 and 241 (6). They’re generally provisions that impose liability on companies that don’t protect their workers on a job site.
One of those provisions relates to workers who fall from great heights and directly relate to scaffolding and ladder safety, but when a construction worker is shocked, he can fall from a ladder. This means the provision can apply.
While everyone should have a measure of self protection on the job, the employer is ultimately responsible for keeping their workers safe from harm. If equipment’s insulation is defective, it needs to be replaced immediately. There must be signs and warnings of potential electrical hazards around the job site too.
A victim of electrocution or electric shocks on the job site is entitled to compensation for the loss of work, damages from the injuries and emotional trauma especially if it was severe enough to cause personality and life-altering changes in the victim’s life. An electrical shock can be incredibly serious and often deadly. An experienced lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been the victim of electrocution. A family member can also receive compensation for the loss of a loved one.