Recently, two Iowa construction workers were killed and another injured when they came into contact with a buried “high voltage” electrical line while installing internet cable. Underground electrical cables not only create hazards for construction workers, but also electricians, utility company employees, farmers, landscapers, equipment operators, trenchers, excavators, and property owners who do not realize the danger lurking underground.
Between 1992 through 2013, CFOI recorded over 5,000 fatal electrical injuries – an average of 254 fatal electrical injuries each year – and tens of thousands of non-fatal injuries. Of these injuries, 99% were reported as electrocutions. Work related electrical fatalities by industry between the years of 2004 to 2013, reveal that over 50 percent of electrical fatalities were among construction workers, with other incidences roughly divided between professional and business services, trade and transportation, natural resources and mining, and manufacturing.
Occupations including construction and installation, maintenance and repair represent nearly 3/4 of all fatalities, with building and grounds cleaning and maintenance, transportation and material moving, production and management occupations representing a fourth during the same period. More than three in five of the fatal electrical injuries occurred while the worker was engaged in a constructing, repairing, or cleaning activity, and one-fifth occurred while the worker was using or operating tools or machinery. Contact with electric current Injury events includes contact with electric current of machine, tool, appliance, or light fixture; contact with wiring, transformers, or other electrical components; contact with overhead power lines; contact with underground buried power lines; and struck by lightening incidents while on the job.
Research from the same period has singled out five safety-related factors that were identified in the electrocution investigations as influencing the event outcome: 1) established safe work procedures were either not implemented or followed; 2) adequate or required personal protective equipment was not provided or worn; 3) lockout/tag out procedures were either not implemented or followed; 4) compliance with existing OSHA, NEC, or NESC regulations were not implemented; and, 5) worker and supervisor training in electrical safety was not adequate.
Based on the review of incidents, the research concluded that even when companies had comprehensive workplace safety programs, implementation was often incomplete, underscoring the need for management and employees to better understand and recognize the hazards associated with working on or around electrical energy. The research further emphasized that developing and implementing comprehensive safety training was a management responsibility and that in some cases, this could require additional training or the evaluation and restructuring of existing training programs. It also stressed the importance of adequate training in electrical safety to all workers.
Contact Our Team of Electrocution Accident Injury Attorneys
If you or a family member is injured on the job after coming into contact with an electric current, it is important to seek the help of an experienced electrocution accident work injury attorney to seek compensation for your injuries. In the unfortunate event of losing a loved one, wrongful death damages including loss of support, services, lost prospect of inheritance, medical and funeral expenses may be payable. Contact the Des Moines personal injury, workers’ compensation attorneys of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC for immediate assistance today at 515-244-1473.