What do I do If I am Electrocuted on the Job?
Electrical accidents pose a serious risk to many workers in the state of Texas, but this risk is particularly large for those working in the construction sector, which is already among the most dangerous work environments. According to statistics, nearly 1 in 5 workers deaths in the United States occurs among construction workers.
These risks come from many factors, including the exposure to heights and falls, heavy machinery, and other dangers like exposure to electrical injuries. Electrocution is the fourth leading cause of death on construction sites, causing nearly 10% of all construction site deaths.
Electrocution and Electrical Injuries
First, it is important to distinguish between electrical injuries and electrocution. An electrical injury is any damage such as burns or shock caused when electricity passes through the body. Whereas electrocution is a fatal injury when someone has been killed by electricity.
If you’ve suffered an electrical injury or accident on the job, then you know that the wounds can be severe and in some cases debilitating and long-lasting. The most common injuries are skin burns, but the damage can be much graver depending on the current and exposure.
In some cases, electrical injuries can include damage to internal organs, cardiac arrhythmias, respiratory arrest, neurological damage, seizures, spinal cord injuries from being thrown by the electrical shock, damage to the heart muscles, brain damage, or permanent scarring or disfigurement.
Electrical Accident Prevention
One should never downplay the risks or seriousness of electrical accidents in the workplace, and while every employer has a responsibility to maintain a safe work environment, it is also crucial that every employee ensures his or her own safety when it comes to electrical accident risks.
This means ensuring that you steer clear of overhead power lines or that the utility company has de-energized or insulated them prior to commencing work. Ensure that you are using Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs), which will limit the duration and severity of an electrical shock, which can prevent exposure from being fatal. Always inspect the cords and cables of electrical power tools before use, since the very nature of a construction site often leads to cords becoming cut or damaged, exposing workers to risk.
What to Do Following an Accident
Sometimes, despite best intentions, accidents still happen. If you’ve suffered an electrical injury on the job, then it’s important to know what to do after you’ve been exposed.
The first step, of course, is to seek out prompt medical attention for your injuries. Only a medical professional can help you determine if you’ve suffered from more severe internal injuries that may not be immediately apparent.
Following the accident, you should also be sure to write down all the details that you can remember about what happened and what lead up to or caused the accident, including the date, time, location, circumstances, any potential witnesses, the weather conditions, and so forth. If your injuries are externally visible, be sure to take photos, which can bolster any claim you might make.
Thankfully, workers’ compensation exists to help for on the job injuries, and can cover lost wages, medical bills, rehabilitation, and for permanent disabilities. But workers’ compensation might not be the only recourse available to you. In the event of third party involvement, you may be able to seek additional compensation, such as if malfunctioning equipment or power tools caused the injury, or if another contractor or employee was the direct cause of your injuries.
The next step following any electrical injury on the job is to speak with a qualified construction accident attorney like those at Fears Nachawati. Their experienced attorneys have handled all manner of on the job accident and injury claims, ranging from slip-and-fall, electrical accidents, wrongful death, and more.
If you or a loved one has suffered an on the job injury, contact us today for a free legal consultation by calling (866) 705-7584 or visiting one of our offices located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin.