How Dangerous are Electrocution Accidents?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), electrocution as the fifth leading cause of work-related injuries and deaths in the United States; it also continuously puts workers, particularly those whose work brings them into close proximity to electrical sources, at risk of severe injuries or fatal accidents.

Risk of occupational electrocution accidents is most common among electricians, electrical helpers, utility workers, construction workers and those working in manufacturing sites. The highest death rates, though, come from the ranks of those whose work directly involves maintenance and repair of overhead power lines and construction workers, among whom 400 die every year due to accidental contact with high voltage wires. High voltage refers to voltage above 500. This level of power can actually “arc” or jump up to a distance of an inch to several feet through the air (the higher the voltage, the farther the arc) and can electrocute workers who happen to be near an electrically charged cable.

Instead of fending off electricity, the human body becomes an electrical conduit; this is what makes electrocution a very dangerous type of accident. As explained in the website of the Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, law firm, there are many different ways in which a worker might encounter an electrical hazard on a job site, like unmarked wires running through a wall that might meet the end of a nail or drill; hanging lines above which a ladder may touch; a power tool malfunctioning; or an improperly regulated current causing an arc-flash that could fell anyone from across a room.

The effect of an electric shock is largely determined by the strength and flow of the electrical current, but virtually any contact with a source of electrical charge has the potential to be fatal. Possible effects of an electric shock include severe internal and/or external burns, muscle damage, spinal cord injuries, brain damage, heart attack, paralysis and death. Muscle damage can result to swelling of the limb which, in turn, can lead to “compartment syndrome,” a condition wherein blood is prevented from reaching the (affected) limb.

Severe electrical shocks have other effects, such as intense muscle contractions, fatal heart arrhythmia (a condition wherein the heart beats in an abnormal or irregular rhythm), brain and nerve injuries, serious injuries to internal organs, and fall accidents.

While it may be true that electrocution accidents are sometimes due to victims’ own carelessness, many others are results of other individuals’ negligent acts. Many law firms emphasize the necessity of victims of electrocution to be represented by personal injury attorneys who have in-depth experience in personal injury lawsuits. This is to help them seek the full amount of compensation brought about by the losses they have been made to suffer (and may still suffer in the future).


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