Electrocution as a Construction Site Hazard

We are surrounded by gadgets that use electricity so electrocution can happen anywhere at any time to anybody. Remember that teenager who woke up to find her pillow, blanket and some of her hair burnt off by an overheating smart phone because of a defective battery? While this was not a direct electrocution, the potential for injury through the resultant burn was high enough to cause concern.

But there are certain construction worksites that are undoubtedly a place where there is a high probability of electrocution, such as working on or near power lines. As pointed out in the website of Hach & Rose, even being in the vicinity of a power line or source in a construction site can pose a hazard such as when using a tool or machine running on electricity which isn’t grounded, or when the working surface is wet.

Construction workers often think of themselves as tough guys who are not afraid of getting a bit of juice now and again. But most people will die from a strong enough surge of power no matter how tough they are. In general, a 120V line will discharge 15 to 20 amperes of electricity which can give anyone a hard enough jolt to knock you off your feet. An electric shock of 50 or more amperes can kill you.

When dealing with electricity directly or indirectly on a construction site, it is best to take the following protective measures:

  • Keep as much distance from the electricity source especially power lines as the job will allow
  • Ensure the electric equipment you are using are double insulated and/or grounded
  • Use protective gear such as insulated gloves
  • Make sure the electrical source is equipped with circuit breakers to prevent overloading from a sudden spike in supply
  • Keep dry as water conducts electricity

In many cases of electrocution, the worker was inadequately trained or equipped to work with or in the vicinity of an electrical source with fatal consequences. When the contractor was negligent in preventing electrocution, the injured worker may have recourse in a civil lawsuit. Consult with a construction accident lawyer to discuss how.

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