Electrocution Accidents and Lack of Ground-Fault Protection
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists electrocution as one of its so-called “Fatal Four.” This means that electrocution and electrical accidents are one of the four leading causes of fatalities at construction sites across the country. According to numbers from 2016, 82 deaths were the result of electrical injuries, which amounts to 8.3 percent of the total fatalities in the construction industry that year.
As with many other fatal accidents at construction sites, electrocutions could be prevented with proper safety measures taken. This is where ground-fault protection comes into play.
Experienced Houston, TX injury attorney Michael E. Shelton would like to go over some of the basics of ground-fault protection and electrical injuries below. This should give you some idea about why electrocutions occur and how they can be avoided.
What Is Ground-Fault Protection?
If you have ever experienced an electrical shock, it was most likely caused by your hand coming into contact with an electrical current and your body providing a path for the electrical current to go into the ground. This unintentional path between the source of the current and the ground is known as a “ground fault.” Ground faults and contact with power lines are the two most common causes of electrocutions at construction sites.
Ground-fault protection is a term that refers to various systems that prevent severe or fatal electrical shocks from occurring. One option is a ground fault circuit interrupter.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
GFCIs are one type of ground-fault protection device that can save lives. This simple device monitors the amount of power flowing through an electrical device. When the GFCIs detects an interruption in the amount of power, it shuts off the electricity to the device off. This could potentially save a life, particularly if electrical equipment gets wet or there is an unexpected power surge at a work site.
There are special GFCIs that are used in construction, but there are also GFCIs that are built into the sockets of many homes, businesses, and apartments.
Other Safety Precautions Working with Electricity
Whenever working with electricity at a worksite, shocks and ground faults can be avoided by using common sense. There should be no power around outlets and wiring whenever they are being worked on. Electricians and other workers near the wire or outlet should wear rubber boots and work gloves as well to minimize the potential for harm.
Collecting Worker’s Compensation
If you have been injured in an electrical accident, worker’s compensation benefits will be essential for recovery. Our law firm can help with the application process, and can also offer advice on the appeal process if your application has been denied.
Pursuing Legal Action Over Electrical Accidents
Sometimes it may be beneficial to a client to seek legal action against the negligent party in an electrical injury. This could mean the construction company or a third party also involved in the construction work performed. When a lawsuit is sought, that could result in an employee foregoing worker’s compensation benefits, which can be a risky proposition. We can let you know what actions are in your best interests given the nature of your accident.
Learn More About Your Legal Options
For more information about your legal rights and options following an electrocution accident or other kind of on-the-job injury, be sure to contact an experienced workplace accident lawyer. We at the Shelton Law Firm are here to help. You can reach our office by phone at (713) 807-0700.