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What Are Some Common Electrical Hazards in the Workplace?

electrical workplace

Modern life would be impossible without electricity. We rely on it from morning until evening, including at work. Yet we rarely think about how dangerous electricity can be, especially on the job.

According to figures from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 350 workers die of an electrical accident every year. Thousands more suffer nonfatal electricity-related injuries that keep them away from their jobs, sometimes permanently. And their numbers do not just include electricians. They include people from all walks of life, including those who work in more traditional office settings.

Of course, it is not reasonable for employees in most occupations to avoid being around electric devices. However, knowing the most common electrical hazards in the workplace can help any worker take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of electrocution, electric burns, or shock.

Damaged Electrical Cords

Electric wires are typically wrapped in cords made of materials such as pliable plastic. The cords are designed as a protective barrier that keeps the live wires tucked away neatly.

When cords become sliced, frayed, or otherwise damaged, they turn into potentially deadly objects. If touched, exposed wires can send deadly electrical shocks into the body. Wires that make contact with flammable items can start fires as well.

The best way to reduce the risk of this hazard is to maintain electric cords properly and repair or replace ruined cords.

Damaged Power Lines

Some workers come in contact with overhead power lines as part of their jobs. These include tree trimmers and construction workers. Overhead power lines carry large amounts of electricity. If they become damaged or come down, they need to be treated as extremely threatening.

Workers should be especially careful when working around or near power lines. Power lines that have fallen should be treated as live until they are proved otherwise by professionals. Under no circumstances should workers attempt to shift or fix power lines unless they have the proper personal protective equipment, tools, and training.

Defective Equipment

Any equipment that depends on electricity to run can be or become defective. For instance, an exposed internal electrical wire that makes contact with metal can send an electric shock through all the metal parts of the machinery. Depending upon the intensity of the shock, it could send a worker to the emergency room.

Workers and team leaders can reduce the likelihood of injury or death from defective equipment by maintaining all tools and machines per manufacturers’ guidelines. Machines should be checked regularly for any faulty parts as well. Paying attention to the way tools and equipment are stored can avoid serious problems.

Overloaded Circuits

If you have ever tried to run too many gadgets through a single outlet, you know how quickly the circuit can overload. Although modern circuitry generally includes grounding wires to reduce the chance of fire and electrocution, any type of circuitry can fail.

The answer to solving this electrical hazard is the simplest of all: Do not plug more electrical gadgets into an outlet than it can handle. For example, an outlet that has two plugs is built to safely supply a specific amount of electricity to two items. Overloading the system can create a situation that could lead to electrocution, fire, or shock.

What to Do After a Workplace Electrical Injury

Avoiding electrical hazards should be a top priority, particularly if you work around a lot of electric equipment. If you become injured because of any electrical accident, seek attention immediately. After getting treatment, you should inform your employer about the incident and apply for Workers’ Compensation. You may also want to contact a workplace accident lawyer if your claim is denied or you feel pressured to return to work before you are properly healed.

Downingtown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Help Workers Injured in an Electrical Accident

If you had a workplace injury involving an electrical accident, you may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation. The Downingtown Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC will investigate the cause of the accident and fight to secure the compensation for which you are entitled. Contact us online or call us at 610-594-1600 for a free consultation today. We are located in Exton, Pennsylvania, where we serve clients throughout Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.