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Common Electrical Work Injuries

electrical work injuriesPerforming electrical work, whether as an electrician or working on a job site for new construction, can be dangerous. Those in this field are at high-risk for injury, and most of those injuries that occur each year are preventable. Electrical currents expose workers to serious, widespread occupational hazards – especially the risk of electrocution. Electrical injuries fall into four main categories, which include:

  • electrocution,
  • shock,
  • burns, and
  • falls.

All workers who are frequently exposed to electrical currents are at-risk for electrical injuries, whether it is an electrician, cable installer, tree trimmer, landscaper, or construction worker.

Understanding the Common Injuries

If workplace electrical injuries cause serious harm or impact workers’ quality of life, they may qualify for workers’ compensation under New York law. These injuries can include:

  1. Electrical Heart Injury – Electric shock can interfere with the body’s natural electric currents that regulate heart cells. In severe cases of shock, the body could experience cardiac arrest. Most commonly, electric shocks will cause cardiac dysrhythmia, which is a condition where the heart beats irregularly, or too quickly or too slowly. This injury can also lead to necrosis (death of the tissues of the heart).
  2. Contact Injuries and Burns (External) – This occurs when the electrical current arcs inside the body and converts to heat. This heat will follow the current’s flow, which goes along with nerves and blood vessels. The burn will appear at the entry and exit point on the body, which will appear red on the outside and gray on the inside. The tissue between the two points is also severely burned.
  3. Burns (Internal) – Internal contact electrical burns are also very common with electrocutions and shocks. These burns may not appear severe on the outside, but could lead to irreversible damage on the inside of the body. The severity of the burn will depend on the level of the current, as well as the entry and exit point – and the path that the shock traveled through the body.

It is also not uncommon for individuals to experience organ or tissue damage from their electrocution. These often lead to death, if they are not treated right away.

Prevention is Key

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates precautions that can help prevent serious injury or death from electric shocks. These include their lockout and tag out procedures, as well as the GFCI circuit breakers. Lockout and tag out reduces injuries by 10 percent, and are required when workers must remove or bypass guards on a safety device, or replace a component on an electrical item. GFCIs monitor the current-to-the-load, and detect leakage. If leakage is present, the current is disrupted to prevent shock.

Were You Injured at Work Due to an Electrical Accident?

If you suffered serious injuries, due to electrical burns or shocks, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Have your case assessed for free today by the worker’s compensation attorneys at Schwartzapfel® Lawyers P.C. Call 1-516-342-2200 or fill out our online contact form with your legal questions.

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