Three construction workers were attempting to erect scaffolding outside in a residential community when they came in contact with a power line, electrocuting all three workers. Two workers fell as a result of the electrocution, and one worker suffered severe injuries. All three workers were taken to the hospital for their electrocution injuries.
This is a terrifying scene that gets replayed throughout the construction industry. Falls and electrocution are among the top causes of catastrophic injury and death for these workers. Unfortunately, these accidents can often be prevented through the implementation of improved workplace safety measures.
Preventing Workplace Accidents
Investigators are examining whether or not the 10-foot rule was in place. The 10-foot rule requires power companies to properly inspect and insulate power lines when workers are within 10 feet of power lines at a jobsite. This is one of many actions employers can take to ensure workplace electrocution accidents are avoided. According to The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) minimum clearances for workers near overhead power lines are as follows:
- Two feet of clearance if voltage is less than 300 volts
- 10 feet of clearance if voltage is 300 to 50,000 volts
- 10 feet plus four additional inches for every 10,000 volts over 50,000 volts
While employers may think clearance rules are unnecessary because they require additional effort on the employer’s behalf, such as clearances involving voltage power over 50,000 volts. The clearance safety standards do matter and are life-saving in some cases. Electrocutions are more common than employees realize, further highlighting the need for employers to take precautions seriously in an effort to protect their workers.
Construction and the Fatal Four
Of the 4,779 worker fatalities cited in the latest worker fatality report by OSHA, 21% occurred in a construction-related field with 1,008 total worker fatalities. This translates to one in five construction workers being killed on the job per year. Of the reported deaths, OSHA determined the top causes of accidents and fatalities on the jobsite, dubbing their findings as the Fatal Four. Of the Fatal Four, electrocution was responsible for 8.5% of construction-related fatalities or 86 deaths. In addition to electrocution, the following additional workplace accidents causes comprise the Fatal Four:
- Falls – 338 deaths
- Struck by an object – 112 deaths
- Caught-in/Between – 55 deaths
Workplace Accident Lawyers
When employers cut corners to save on money or time, employees suffer. When companies do not take all available safety measures, it shows a lack of commitment to the safety and well being of their employees.
Workers have a right to feel safe while on the job, allowing them to focus on their work without being distracted by fear and anxiety of an unfit working environment. The added stresses of unmaintained jobsites can even lead to further injuries for employees. If you or a loved one suffered an electrical injury, you need to speak with a personal injury attorney who has the knowledge, resources, and experience to handle your case. To learn what the Craft Law Firm can do for you, contact us today.