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Electrocution and other shock injuries in the workplace

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

Employees in occupations nationwide face hazards that could cause serious injuries and lasting conditions based on the work environment and job tasks. There are numerous occupations, however, where workers are more at-risk for catastrophic injuries or fatal accidents involving electricity.

Electrical shocks, shock injuries and electrocution can result in serious conditions for workers in all industries. One study published by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) noted that four industries seemed to fit the at-risk category for electrical fatality rates more than others, including:

  • Utilities: Often required to work in harsh weather conditions, utility workers must avoid electrical injuries that could come from the wires and cables they are directly working on as well as the large vehicles and heavy machinery necessary to complete the task.
  • Mining: Often working with the largest industrial machinery and vehicles, those in mining face frayed wiring, wet surfaces or other environmental hazards.
  • Construction: Whether it is a home renovation project or a new build, construction workers handle live currents and heavy machinery. If power cables are not properly labeled, grounded or secured the workers might suffer devastating injuries.
  • Environmental: This is a general catch-all category that, for the purposes of the ESFI study, included occupations such as agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting. These occupations often rely on heavy machinery and large vehicles as part of their job duties. Any type of electrical malfunction in a remote setting can prove devastating.

Electrical injuries can lead to numerous painful conditions that often impact the skin, subcutaneous tissue, muscle and the bones. Additionally, the shock could be powerful enough to stop the heart, impair the lungs and lead to worker fatality.

No matter the severity of the electrical accident or the resulting injury, workers must visit an experienced medical professional to receive a thorough examination. Even a seemingly minor injury could have a lasting impact on the limbs, extremities and internal organs. Based on the strength of the current, the duration of exposure and any prior medical trauma, an electrical shock could prove fatal.

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