Individuals working in industrial environments face a serious threat of on-the-job electrocution and burns. However, virtually all employees are exposed to heat and electricity in the course of their workday, but are unaware of the potential hazards that they face, making them more vulnerable to burns and electrocution. Injuries from burns and electrocution can range from mild burns to disfigurement and death.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed as a result of a burn or electrocution at work, this is a very difficult time. We understand that you need time to heal and adjust to a new reality. Let the experienced personal injury attorneys of Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. help guide you through the legal ramifications and discuss with you what your rights are. You don’t have to do this alone.
Electrocution and Burn Injuries in the Workplace – By the Numbers
In its most recent report on occupational electrical injuries and fatalities, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) shows a 33% decrease in fatal electrical injuries from 2006-2010. ESFI also reports a decrease in nonfatal electrical injuries from 1992 to 2010 of 60%.
Based on their research, the top three categories for electrical injury fatalities are:
- Contact with overhead power lines – 44%. This includes direct worker contact, as well as contact through machines, tools and hand-carried metallic objects, such as ladders.
- Contact with wires, transformers or other electrical components – 27%. This category is most common for workers who install, repair or maintain electrical systems in the normal course of their electrical work.
- Contact with electric current of a machine, tool, appliance or light fixture – 17%. This category applies to those workers who use electrical tools in the normal course of their non-electrical work.
The ESFI report revealed the top two categories of nonfatal electrical injuries:
- Contact with electric current of a machine, tool, appliance, or light fixture
- Contact with wiring, transformers, or other electrical components
The construction industry accounted for 52% of all electrical fatalities during the timeframe studied. Construction trade workers represented 38% of the electrical fatalities, with installation, maintenance and repair occupations representing 21%.
The utility industry had the highest rate of nonfatal electrical burn injuries with 1.6 cases per 10,000 employees in 2010.
Despite the downward trend, the numbers are still alarming.
Burns and Electrocution – Employers’ Duties
Occupational burn injuries can be caused by fire, chemicals, electricity and heated materials. Employers have a duty to maintain a safe work environment for their employees. Employers can prevent and reduce the number of workplace burn and electrocution injuries by establishing and maintaining workplace safety programs. Certain controls should be put into place to ensure that hazard controls are used:
- Engineering Controls – regularly maintain and replace worn out or obsolete machinery and materials to protect employees from burns from electrical parts.
- Administrative Controls – regularly update written safety policies and procedures, label hazards and investigate workplace burn incidents.
- Safe Work Practices – establishing clear expectations and use of approved procedures with ongoing training of employees who work with electrical equipment.
- Personal Protective Equipment – ensure appropriate employees are equipped with proper PPE while on the job.
When employers fail to provide a safe work environment in violation of local, state and federal rules and regulations, people are injured. We want to fight for your rights to compensation for your injuries and to hold those negligent employers responsible for their actions and make the work environment safe for others.
Steps to Take to Protect Your Rights
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a burn or electrocution injury at work, the first step is ensuring proper medical treatment. Once that has been done, take these next steps to protect your rights and prepare for your claim:
- Gather evidence – ensure that you have copies of all safety policies and procedures, safety memos and OSHA documents.
- Identify: whether chemicals were properly labeled, machines were regularly inspected and kept in good repair.
- Write down your memory of the incident – include whether you were equipped with safety equipment and whether you were trained on the appropriate use of the tools or machinery you were working with.
- Keep a journal of your treatment and recovery. Include copies of all medical records and invoices for expenses you incurred.
You may be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries through a workers’ compensation claim. Let the experienced workplace burn and electrocution attorneys of Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. assist you in navigating the complex workers’ compensation laws and help you file your claim. We understand New York State workers’ compensation laws and know how to best guard your rights so you recover the money and benefits you deserve. Contact us today at 1-877-737-4806 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We will fight for you!