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Electrocution a Common Factor in Construction Worker Accidents

Technician works in a bucket high up on a power pole.

A Philadelphia workers' comp attorney provides the details

While the fatality rate has decreased over the last 10 years, the number of worker deaths due to electrocution remains high. Some researchers say there would be fewer fatal electrocutions if more workers were aware of the danger. Electricity isn't just a work hazard for electricians. Many jobs, especially in the construction industry, place workers in close contact with electricity—and electrical accidents are a common occurrence.

The jobs with the highest risk of fatal electrocution include construction and extraction, building and grounds maintenance, installation and repair, transportation and material moving, farming, fishing, forestry, and management. Since 2017, there have been over a dozen worker electrocution deaths in Pennsylvania, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).

Common causes of electrical accidents & electrocutions

It is important for employers to provide personal protective equipment, education, and a safe working environment. Still, electrical accidents can and do happen. According to OSHA research, the most frequent causes of electrical injuries include:

  • Contact with power lines
  • Lack of ground-fault protection
  • Path to ground missing or discontinuous
  • Equipment not used in the manner prescribed
  • Improper use of extension and flexible cords

Electrical accidents in Pennsylvania

When a worker dies on the job, OSHA almost always conducts a follow-up investigation to get to the bottom of what happened and possibly assess fines. The results are public. Each fatal event recorded in Pennsylvania's directory is tragic as well as unique. The registry points to a wide variety of risks faced by construction workers.

Since 2017, most electrocution deaths took place in Philadelphia. Other communities that have recently experienced a fatal electrocution event include Huntingdon Valley, Ambridge, Mountain Top, Nazareth, Johnstown, Uniontown, Emlenton, Bryn Mawr, Oxford, and Pittsburgh.

According to the Pennsylvania registry, the following are some of the conditions under which construction workers and other contractors were fatally electrocuted:

  • Contact with a power line
  • Aerial lift contact with an overhead power line
  • Troubleshooting HVAC
  • Servicing a power line
  • A ladder made contact with overhead power lines (two separate events)
  • Dislodging metal roof anchor from a power line
  • Labeling wires
  • Aluminum flashing made contact with a power line
  • Contact with a power conductor
  • Lanyard made contact with a power line while tree-trimming
  • Forklift contacted power lines
  • Rewiring a light fixture
  • Boom contacted a power line

Workers' comp & death benefits

After a fatal work accident, the victim's family is often eligible for workers' compensation death benefits. They may also have the right to file a lawsuit against liable third parties such as subcontractors and defective parts manufacturers. No amount of money can ever replace a loved one, but you shouldn't have to suffer emotionally and financially.

While you deserve money for things like loss of financial support and companionship as well as medical and funeral expenses, grieving families are often forced to fight for the compensation they're entitled to. A workers' compensation lawyer can help.

Legal help is available

If you were injured or a loved one died in an electrical accident in the greater Philadelphia area, you have the right to seek workers' compensation benefits. You may also be able to pursue compensation from a negligent third party, depending on the specific details of your case. The key is to talk to an attorney as soon as possible to get a clear understanding of your legal rights and options.

At the Law Offices of Richard A. Jaffe, LLC, we know how to investigate workplace accidents and build strong cases that get results. We look for all sources of compensation and fight for every dollar our clients deserve. See how our law firm can help you and contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced Philadelphia workers' compensation attorney.

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