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Electrocutions at Construction Sites Are Often Preventable

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2019 | Construction Accidents, Workers' Compensation, Workplace Injuries

There are many hazards that construction workers face on a daily basis, including electrocution, which is one of the four most fatal types of accidents. People who work in the construction industry are approximately four times more likely to suffer an electrocution than those in other industries.

While the percentage of workers who die from electrocutions is relatively low, there are still too many workers dying from this often-preventable cause. Employers must have a clear plan to help prevent electrocutions from occurring on job sites.

Temporary power is a big problem

Many construction sites don’t have permanent power. The use of temporary power comes with an increased risk of electrocution. Whether the job relies on temporary lines from the main power line or generators, anyone who is working at the site must know where these live sources of electricity are located and how to avoid them. All live sources should have marking to alert everyone of that status so nobody assumes they aren’t connected to a power source.

When temporary lines are necessary, they must be secured in a way that won’t allow them to come into contact with water. This might be a challenge on some job sites, but the contractor must find a suitable method to make this happen. Another way to improve safety is to de-energize any unused electrical circuits so they aren’t the cause of an electrocution.

Improper lockout/tagout is unacceptable

Failing to use appropriate lockout/tagout procedures is another issue that can lead to electrocution. When any equipment isn’t functioning properly or requires maintenance, remove the power source from the item. Take the proper steps to verify that there isn’t any power to it. Once you verify this, use a tagout or lockout device to ensure that nobody will accidentally reconnect to it. After the maintenance or repair is complete, take the proper steps to reconnect the equipment and get it back online.

Multiple contractors increase the risk

When contractors and subcontractors are all working on the same project, the risk of deaths and accidents go up. The issue here is that the subcontractors might not practice the same safety standards as the general contractors. These individuals must be trained on proper work practices around electricity so they can reduce the risk of being electrocuted.

If a worker is shocked by a high voltage current, they can suffer from catastrophic injuries. Some may pass away from the injury. Workers who survive and the family members of ones who perish will likely qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. It is imperative to handle this as quickly as possible after the incident because there are time limits in place.