Too Many Workplace Deaths from Electrical Incidents, says NFPA
February 2, 2019
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is concerned about the number of contractors who are killed in workplace electrical incidents every year. The majority of electrical hazards in the workplace are preventable through effective safety and health programs. However, too often employers set aside the safety of workers in the rush to complete a job and save money.
What’s a Contractor?
There are all different kinds of employees, such as temporary workers, full-time employees, contract or “gig” workers, and many more. For the NFPA’s data, the organization classified certain workers as “contractors” – or those employed by one firm or company, but working for another at the time that the workplace injury or fatality occurred.
Our firm has written about contracted employees in the past. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that temporary workers – such as contractors – are especially vulnerable to work-related illnesses, injuries, and death. This is largely the result of employers who refuse to remain compliant with federal health and safety guidelines, in addition to failing to provide lifesaving equipment, training, and supervision to employees.
The NFPA’s Data on Contractor Deaths and Injuries
According to the NFPA, there was a “substantial share” of contractor deaths involving electrical incidents between 2012 and 2016. The organization looked at a total of 325 electrical-related fatalities; in more than 70% of the total incidents, the deceased was employed in the construction industry.
Construction workers are at risk for other specific job-related hazards. According to the NFPA, some of the other leading causes of contractor deaths in the workplace – aside from exposure to electricity – include:
- Slips, trips, and falls (which often result from cluttered workplaces or objects and/or equipment being stored in places they should not be);
- Contact with objects and equipment, and:
- Transportation-related incidents, such as driving a truck
During the five-year period that the NFPA examined, more than 3,300 contracted construction workers were killed in preventable workplace accidents – and at least 325 of the deaths were directly related to electrical hazards that could have been avoided in the first place.
How to Avoid Electrical-Related Workplace Deaths
There are several control measures that employers can take to limit the chances of workers being injured or killed in electric exposure-related incidents. Exposure to electricity can result in an array of debilitating and deadly injuries. Some of the most common ways that workers get hurt or die is by way of electric shock, electrocution, arc blast, and/or an arc flash (arc blasts and flashes are different types of electrical explosions).
Some of the best protective measures against electrical injuries include:
- Always use caution when working around electricity;
- Do not ever operate electrical equipment while standing in water;
- Do not perform repairs or any other work on electrical cords or equipment unless authorized and qualified to do so, and:
- Before energizing equipment that got wet, have a qualified and authorized electrician inspect it first
There are many other important codes and standards when it comes to electrical safety in the workplace.
According to the NFPA, more and more contract construction workers are facing electrical hazards in their workplaces every year. Instead of the risks decreasing, the number of workers who die in electrical-related incidents is slowly increasing. If you have questions about an electrical injury you sustained while working, our team of attorneys may be able to help. Call a representative who can answer your questions today.
Allentown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Individuals Injured at Work
If you were injured at work, please contact our Allentown Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Galfand Berger. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.