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What Causes Electrical Injuries at Construction Sites?

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A New York Construction Accident Lawyer Provides the Details Workers Should Know

Construction accidents are common in New York. It’s dangerous work and there are many hazards on-site. A workplace accident can impact workers in many ways. They can be left with serious injuries and may be out of work for weeks or even months. In the meantime, they aren’t collecting a paycheck and suffer a loss of income.

One of the most dangerous hazards on a construction site is electricity. Electricians and apprentices work directly with electrical power. But other workers are also at risk. They may use electrical tools or equipment, or work near live power lines. An electrical accident can result in electrocution, burns, internal injuries, or falls.

Common causes of electrical injuries include:

Contact with power lines

Tools or equipment come into contact with overhead or buried power lines that carry high voltage. Common injuries include burns and falls from heights. Tools and equipment that can conduct electricity include backhoes, cranes, metal ladders, scaffolds, aluminum paint rollers, and metal building materials.

These accidents can be prevented by locating power lines ahead of time, posting warning signs, staying at least 10 feet away from overhead lines, and using non-conductive wood or fiberglass ladders.

Lack of ground-fault protection

The normal use of electrical equipment can cause wear and tear. This can lead to insulation breaks, exposed wires, and short-circuits. Without proper precautions, an electrical current can go directly through a worker’s body. There may also be a fire or an explosion.

To protect workers, use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) on all receptacles. Use double-insulated tools and equipment, and remember to visually inspect all electrical equipment before using.

Path to ground missing or discontinuous

Problems with the power supply of electrical equipment can lead to an electric current traveling through a worker’s body. This can happen if the equipment is not grounded or the path has been broken. Extreme conditions and rough treatment of equipment can also be a factor.

To prevent these problems, make sure that all electrical equipment, electrical circuits, and power supply systems are grounded. Inspect electrical systems and equipment frequently. Use double-insulated equipment and tools. And never remove ground prongs from electrical or extension cords.

Equipment not used in the manner prescribed

Electrical equipment can be dangerous if used improperly or in ways for which it wasn’t designed. Examples include using indoor equipment outdoors, using multi-receptacle boxes meant for mounting on the floor, using circuit breakers or fuses with the wrong rating, and using modified cords or tools.

Only use equipment approved to meet OSHA standards and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Never modify cords or use them improperly.

Improper use of extension and flexible cords

Over time, these cords can suffer wear and tear, resulting in loose or exposed wires. This increases the risk of contact with electrical current.

To help prevent this, use only 3-wire type extension cords that are designated for hard or extra-hard usage. Use cords, fittings, and connection devices equipped with strain relief. Pull on the plug, not the cords, when removing cords from receptacles. And continue to audit and inspect cords that are used on-site.

Talk to a workplace injury attorney if you've been injured

If you’ve been injured on the job in New York, you deserve workers’ compensation benefits. But the process can be complicated, and many valid claims are denied. The experienced New York construction accident attorneys at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP can help. We build strong cases for and fight to get workers the compensation they deserve.

Learn more about how we can help. Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation.

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