When you think of construction accidents, you probably picture falls, run-ins with heavy equipment or falling materials. Those are all common types of construction accidents, and falls are the most common cause of construction site deaths. Still, electrocution is far more common than you might think, accounting for nearly 10% of construction-related fatalities.
Electrical injuries and electrocution deaths occur across a range of industries, including manufacturing, mining, utilities and even business and professional services. However, more than half of the workplace electrocution deaths each year occur in the construction industry. Construction workers most at risk for this type of fatal accident include:
- Power-line installers
- HVAC mechanics
Most Common Causes of Construction Site Electrocution Fatalities
According to a report by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (EFSI) based on data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the vast majority of construction-site electrocutions occur as the result of one of the following:
- Contact with overhead power lines (44%)
- Contact with wiring, transformers or other electrical components (27%)
- Contact with the electrical current of a machine, tool, appliance or light fixture (17%)
Other less frequent causes of electrocution death on construction sites included contact with underground power lines and being struck by lightning.
There is some variation in the risk based on the sector of the construction industry. For example, electricians are most likely to be killed by direct contact with wiring or other electrical components, but laborers most often fall victim to contact with overhead power lines.
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Negligence in Construction Worker Electrocution Cases
Regardless of the exact event that brought the construction worker in contact with the electrical current, there is a strong possibility that the accident and the worker’s injury or death were the result of negligence. Different types of negligence may underlie construction site electrocutions, including:
- Negligent design / faulty equipment
- Failure to properly maintain equipment
- Negligent operation by another employee
However, one of the most common, significant and inexcusable reasons that construction workers are killed by electricity is that workplace safety standards are ignored. For example, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) sets forth detailed standards for power line clearance. These standards vary depending on whether the lines are insulated and the voltage of the lines, but are designed to ensure that construction workers do not damage or make accidental contact with power lines, either directly or by touching the lines with equipment.
When you’ve suffered an injury or lost a loved one to a construction accident due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to pursue compensation through a personal injury suit, wrongful death claim or other means.
Talk to an Experienced Construction Accident Lawyer
Construction accident cases can be complex. There may be more than one potential defendant, and pursuing some claims may preclude others. The evidence required to prove negligence requires an understanding of industry standards and likely one or more expert witnesses. Working with an experienced law firm like Dansker & Aspromonte from the beginning can take the pressure off of you and your family, protect you against innocent mistakes that could harm or entirely derail your claim, and enhance your chances of receiving a fair settlement or verdict.
To discuss your construction injury or construction-related wrongful death case with an experienced personal injury attorney, just call us at 212-732-2929 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.