Pennsylvania Workers Continue To Suffer Electrocution Fatalities
May 21, 2013
By Peter M. Patton, Esquire
Some dozen workers in Pennsylvania were electrocuted and suffered fatalities in 2012 and 2013, according to records compiled by Philaposh using fatality records of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other media reports. Most of these incidents could have been prevented.
For non-electrical workers, a main cause of electrocution is contact with overhead power lines. Electrocutions from overhead power lines often result when a worker’s scaffold, ladder or aerial lift contacts a power line. PhilaPosh statistics show that this year followed the trend. One worker was electrocuted when his aerial lift truck contacted a power line. Another worker experienced a power line injury while working on a scaffold. A third worker suffered a fatal electrocution when a tree pole saw contacted an overhead power line.
To prevent such electrocution injuries, contractors should perform an initial work site survey to identify the location of overhead power lines on a job site:
- Construction managers and general contractors should note power line heights and distances from work areas on site diagrams to provide this critical information for site supervisors and workers.
- Contractors should plan work to avoid nearby power lines. Contractors must consider ladder length and room for safely raising and lowering ladders as part of their safety planning for construction site.
- Contractors must also notify the local electric utility company to ask for help if work needs to be done near their energized, overhead power lines.
- Contractors must also plan site work so as to not store materials or equipment below or near overhead power lines.
- Contractors must not use metal ladders near energized power lines. Contractors should ensure that workers keep any metal or other conductive objects at least ten feet away from unguarded energized lines up to 50 kilovolts. For higher voltages, additional clearance is required.
- Contractors, as part of their site safety program, must make supervisors and workers aware of the distance of power lines from work areas.
- Contractors must also train workers about the hazard of electric shock from overhead power lines.
If contractors fail to take necessary steps required to ensure safe work place free from electrocution hazards, they are responsible for injuries from those hazards..
If you or a loved one suffers a power line injury or other electrocution injury, contact Peter M. Patton, Senior Partner at Galfand Berger. Mr. Patton and the other Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger are experienced and knowledgeable in all types of catastrophic workplace injuries. We can assist you in seeking the maximum recovery for your injuries and other losses. Call us today at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online to schedule an appointment with an experienced injury attorney.