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New Jersey

Personal Injury Attorneys

Identifying electrical hazards on a construction site

On Behalf of | May 4, 2021 | Firm News |

Injuries on a New Jersey construction site can require a quick trip to the emergency room or change your life drastically. While you may identify some hazards easily, such as falling from scaffolding. Others are less noticeable but just as dangerous. Recognizing some of the most hazardous situations can help you avoid injury. 

According to the CDC, the annual number of electrocutions in construction is comparable to all other industries combined. Electricians and power-line installers have the highest risk, but many workers accidentally come into direct or indirect contact, from general laborers to carpenters. Depending on the circumstances, catastrophic injuries may result. 

Hazard recognition

The most apparent danger occurs when working near electrical equipment, wiring or a power source. However, you may not recognize other potential on-site electrical hazards. Buried power lines carry the same extreme high voltage as overhead lines. Often, they are less obvious, particularly if you don’t see buried power line indicators. Unless you know otherwise, assume the lines are live. De-energize and ground them when completing tasks nearby. 

Routine use of electrical equipment can result in insulation breaks, exposed wires and short-circuits. Minimize injury potential by using ground-fault circuit interrupters, double-insulated tools and equipment. Daily inspections of your equipment can help you identify potential issues and handle them before they become hazardous. 

Electrical injuries

Electrical burns are the most common injury caused by electric shocks. An electrical shock that occurs while working on an elevated surface, such as a ladder or scaffold, can cause involuntary muscle contractions. This often results in loss of balance and serious injuries from a fall, as well as electrical burns. 

Although your skin may have visible burns, you could also have internal damage caused by the heat produced from the current as it flowed through your body. Severe tissue damage can result in the loss of a limb. If burns cover more than 40% of your body, infection poses a serious threat. 

The scarring and disfigurement that can accompany an electrical burn may require multiple reconstruction surgeries, rehabilitation and long-term care. Understanding the cause of the accident might help determine it was the result of negligence.