Understanding Construction Site Electrocution Accidents
It's particularly dangerous for construction professionals to work with and around electrical wiring, heavy machinery, and a plethora of power tools.
When construction company employers, foremen, and crew members fail to make safety a priority at the building site, serious accidents, including electrocutions, can occur.
The effects of a construction site electrocution accident can be devastating. Workers fortunate enough to live through such an accident often have severe injuries and find themselves facing astronomical unexpected medical bills, all while being temporarily or even permanently unable to work.
However, construction workers who sustain electrical injuries on the job may be entitled to compensation. Here's what you need to know if you're considering taking legal action after an electrocution accident in the workplace.
Electrocution a Leading Cause of Death Among Construction Workers
Electrocutions may not be the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of construction accidents, but they're surprisingly common.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)—a small federal agency responsible for regulating the workplace health and safety of more than 130 million American workers—electrocution ranks third among the top four leading causes of deaths for private sector workers in the construction industry.
In 2016 alone, electrocution accidents on construction sites led to the deaths of more than 80 workers. The other three leading causes of death for construction industry workers in 2016 were:
- Falls, which were responsible for more than 380 deaths.
- Struck-by object accidents, which caused more than 90 deaths.
- Caught-in/caught-between incidents, which killed more than 70 people.
Additional research shows that 2016 was actually a “down” year for construction industry electrocution deaths. According to statistics cited by the Center for Construction Research and Training's Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health, approximately 140 workers were killed in electricity-related construction accidents each year from 1992 through 2003.
Types of Electrical Injuries
Coming into contact with powerful electrical currents can damage the skin as well as the body's internal organs. Electrical injuries vary dramatically, depending on the source of the current and strength of the electricity, as well as the duration of exposure.
However, according to OSHA, the four main types of electrical injuries are:
- Electrical shocks
- Burns, which may result in severe blistering
- Falls caused by coming into contact with electricity
- Fatal electrocutions
Common causes of construction site electrocution accidents include:
- Live or improperly grounded wires
- Poorly maintained cords or tools
- Faulty equipment or machinery
- Poorly marked electrical hazard areas
- Poor construction site lighting
Compensation for Workplace Injuries in Texas
Texas is the only state that allows employers to opt out of its workers' compensation system and, according to The Dallas Morning News, approximately one-third of Texas employers choose not to participate.
As a result, employees working for those companies aren't entitled to workers' compensation benefits after being injured in an on-the-job accident. However, injured workers without access to workers' compensation benefits aren't entirely without legal recourse. If the workplace injury was directly caused by an employer's negligence, the employee may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against them to seek compensation for a wide range of economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Consult an Experienced Construction Accident Attorney
After being hurt in a workplace accident, it's important to consult a construction accident attorney to understand your rights. The knowledgeable and award-winning legal team with McGartland Law Firm can review your case to determine if filing a personal injury lawsuit is possible. Our firm will help you explore all possible legal avenues of compensation.
Contact McGartland Law Firm today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.