Although electrocutions may sound like an infrequent occurrence in the workplace, the use of electric power in most tasks, particularly in industrial fields, puts many workers at risk of electrocution if due diligence is not observed. Electrocution does not just happen to electricians. While electricians do suffer approximately 20 percent of all workplace electrocutions, other workers – including carpenters, welders, bricklayers, plumbers, machine operators, machine repair personnel, oil and gas workers, and construction workers – suffer the remaining 80 percent. An electrocution can occur due to contact with exposed wiring or an electric current being transmitted through water. If contact is established, a worker faces the possibility of grave injuries or even death.
Massive amounts of power are needed to operate large machines and factories, leading to potentially deadly injuries should a worker suffer an electric shock. Workers who work around power lines – like construction workers or landscapers – also face an increased risk of electrocution.
According to statistics, electrocution is the fifth leading cause of death in the workplace. Texas workers suffer the effects of hundreds of electrocution cases every year and there are many potential causes. For example, construction workers often work with metal equipment such as towers, ladders, and scaffolding, which can come in contact with live sources of electricity. In some cases, trucks, front-end loaders, and forklifts can become unbalanced and tip over onto a live electrical source. The cause of a workplace electrocution can also involve a scaffolding system collapse throwing workers into a live electrical source, causing them to become a conduit for the electricity and being electrocuted as a result.
In an attempt to reduce the risk of electrocution injuries, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been urging employers to focus on worker safety when it comes to electrocution, teaching workers to understand the of importance of avoiding live electrical sources at all times, as well as the minimum clearing distances necessary to stay away from overhead power lines. Workers who will be near live electrical sources should be supplied with the proper training and equipment. Preventative maintenance should be done on all electric sources and equipment to avoid harm as well. Unfortunately, quite often employers put profits ahead of safety and ignore precautions that may prevent workers from being electrocuted.
While some electrocutions may only result in a small shock or burn, being shocked in this way can and often does also cause severe injuries, such as nerve damage, muscle injury, respiratory arrest, loss of muscle control, internal organ damage, cardiac arrest, extreme pain, and loss of limbs. As exposure levels break 17 milliamperes, an individual loses the ability to let go of the source of the shock. This means the victim maintains contact with the electrical flow and damage continues to occur, often leading to severe injuries. The severity of the shock can be influenced by several factors, including the level of moisture in the air, the voltage of the current, and the health of the victim. In addition to direct injuries caused by the shock, even a relatively minor or painless electrocution can cause involuntary muscle reactions. When working in a potentially dangerous environment, such as on a tall ladder, or using potentially dangerous tools, such as a large power tool, these movements could easily lead to further harm.
In the case of a severe shock, the victim will likely need extensive medical treatment. Healthcare costs can quickly skyrocket, leaving an injured worker and his or her loved ones facing a massive financial burden. Many workers injured in electrocution accidents are entitled to file a personal injury claim against any or all parties who may have been negligent, including general contractors, subcontractors, equipment suppliers, and even equipment manufacturers. The prospect of hospital visits, medication, rehabilitation, and lost income can be overwhelming, but if the incident was another party’s fault, the liable party may be held legally responsible for these costs.
Texas Electrocution Lawyers
After an electrocution on the job, seeking compensation can be intimidating. The Houston, Texas electrocution lawyers of Adame Garza LLP understand you’re facing a difficult situation, and we will guide you through the process ahead with diligent care that enables you to focus on recovering from your injuries. Contact us today to discuss the details of your situation.