From inclement weather to high elevations, many construction workers must contend with dozens of hazards every time they step foot on a job site. Falls, caught-between accidents, struck-by collisions and electrocutions are so deadly, though, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has branded them the fatal four.
High-voltage electrocution, where current surges through the body, is a medical emergency, as it may cause cardiac arrest, serious burns, brain damage or paralysis. On construction sites, electrocution commonly happens for just one of three reasons.
1. Contact with building wiring
It is usually smart to leave wiring projects to professional electricians who have the education, skill, tools and protective gear to do the job correctly and safely. If ordinary construction workers attempt to rewire a structure, install electrical fixtures or otherwise tinker with building wiring, they may inadvertently electrocute themselves.
2. Contact with overhead powerlines
Overhead powerlines transport high-voltage electricity to cities and towns across the country. When using a ladder on a construction site, a contractor may accidentally collide with overhead powerlines. The same may happen when moving tall construction equipment. Regrettably, contact with overhead powerlines almost always results in serious injury or death.
3. Contact with faulty equipment
Before using any power tool, like a corded saw or drill, construction workers should carefully examine it for visible signs of damage. If the tool’s cord has cracked, frayed or sustained other types of damage, the power tool may be an electrocution risk. Likewise, if workers use power tools in inclement weather or near pooled water, they may be vulnerable to electrocution.
Even if workers survive electrocution, their lives may never be the same again. Fortunately, for construction professionals who sustain injuries at work, workers’ compensation benefits may be available to help them adjust to their post-electrocution worlds.