Shocked to Death in the Workplace

Madeleine Jones
June 26, 2017

Each year, at least 10 percent of U.S. workers die from electrocution in work-related accidents. A Las Vegas personal injury lawyer commonly sees severe burn injuries, as well as fatalities, caused by faulty wiring, malfunctioning equipment and other factors in the workplace.

Electrical Injuries and Fatalities

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety, approximately 400 fatal electrocution accidents occur each year at U.S. work sites. Workers at the highest risk of electrical injuries and fatalities are electricians, telephone linemen and repair technicians, construction workers and general laborers. In 2015, electrocution was responsible for 8.7 percent of construction worker fatalities, putting them at the top of the list for risk of electrocution in in the workplace. According to OSHA safety regulations, 600 volts of electricity is the threshold for fatal exposure, but other factors including humidity and duration of contact have an impact on the severity of personal injuries.

Not all workers exposed to the dangers of electricity suffer fatalities. A personal injury lawyer often sees workers with severe injuries caused by burns, electrical shock, and explosions.

  • Burns – If a worker touches an exposed electrical source, the result is often electrical, arc or thermal contact burns. These types of burns are often life-threatening, as they can cause damage to skin, body tissue and internal organs.
  • Shock – Electric shock occurs when current passes through the body. It is typically caused by higher voltage levels. Electric shock can cause serious damage to tissues and organs, as well as seizures, strokes, respiratory failure and heart attacks.
  • Explosions – When an electrical current comes into contact with combustible materials such as gasoline, paint, solvents and cleaning solutions, it can lead to an explosive discharge of energy that ignites electrical sparks.

Workplace electrocutions range from office workers using old extension cords to construction workers getting struck by lightening. Common causes of electrocution in the workplace include contact with overhead power lines, contact with bare wires and malfunctioning equipment. Workers who commonly work around electricity are especially vulnerable to electrocution when their hands, hand tools, and metal objects come in contact with bare wires.

Worn electric cords on equipment and wires that come loose inside power tools can also cause electrocution if the equipment the worker is holding is electrified. In Nevada, workers who suffer these types of workplace injuries often pursue damages for lost wages, pain and suffering and medical expenses through a Las Vegas accident lawyer.