Boston Construction Site Electrocution Attorney

Electrical accidents on construction sites are a common occurrence. According to one medical site, approximately 1,000 people die every year from electrocution and most of those deaths are job-related

Construction workers who work with or around electricity can suffer electrical shock, disfiguring burns, and other severe injuries when something goes wrong.

If you've suffered a serious electricity-related accident on a construction site, the Boston-based construction accident attorneys at the Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers are ready to help. We can explain your rights under the law and act to help you obtain the compensation you and your family are entitled to while you recover from your injuries.

Electrical shock and electrocution cases can be complicated. An attorney can help you navigate the workers' compensation system and make sure that all responsible parties pay the price for their negligence. Electricity-related injuries can leave an accident victim with permanent, painful and debilitating injuries. You need to make sure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to, to help you and your family get through this difficult time.

If you are a family member of a construction worker who was electrocuted in a construction accident, our caring and compassionate attorneys can help you recover death benefits and pursue a wrongful-death claim against any negligent parties that caused or contributed to the accident.

Our law firm has been representing construction workers and their families for more than 20 years, and we have a proven track record of winning construction accident cases.

Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. That means that you don't pay a cent until we win your case.

To help ensure a successful outcome, we encourage you to contact our law firm today. Construction accident cases often have strict time limits, especially if government entities are involved.

I've Been Injured in an Electrical Accident on a Construction Site. What Should I Do?

First, report your injury to your supervisor and obtain medical treatment as soon as possible. Electrical shocks often cause internal damage that can't be seen. Any delays could prompt your employer or your employer's insurance carrier to argue that your injury isn't work-related or isn't as severe as you claim.

If possible, collect contact information for any witnesses and take pictures of the cause of your accident such as a frayed electrical cord or downed power line. Hold onto any evidence, including the clothes that you were wearing and any tools or equipment that contributed to the accident. For example, a power tool that short circuited and shocked you while you were using it can be a crucial piece of evidence in your case.

Contact a lawyer to learn about your legal rights. A construction accident attorney will investigate your workplace accident and identify all potentially liable parties. These cases often involve multiple negligent parties, including subcontractors, property owners, utility companies and even tool and equipment manufacturers.

What Causes Electric Shock and Electrocution Accidents on Construction Sites?

Construction sites contain many electrical hazards ranging from overhead power lines to handheld power tools. Here's a look at some common causes of these accidents:

High-voltage power lines: Overhead or buried power lines can be deadly because they carry high voltage and oftentimes aren't visible to workers performing tasks nearby. Energized power lines act like magnets and attract metal objects that come too close. According to safety guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, construction equipment should remain 10-feet from power lines. Construction workers working high above the ground or operating certain types of heavy machinery are at high risk for power line accidents. Even workers carrying ladders can be involved in accidents involving power lines. Buried power lines should be identified and marked before workers are given the go-ahead to perform excavation work in the vicinity.

Damaged or defective cords: Cords with loosened or exposed wiring can be dangerous.

Power tools: Damaged and defective power tools are shock hazards.

Absence of ground-fault protection: Workers using power tools in wet conditions can be shocked when ground fault circuit interrupters, or GFIs, aren't present. Workers using power tools in older buildings that contain electrical receptacles lacking a ground, are at high risk for serious shock.

Heavy equipment: Cranes, dump trucks, backhoes and other heavy machinery that has the potential to come into contact with power lines, pose a danger to equipment operators, as well as nearby workers.

Arcing: Arcing accidents occur when an electrical current jumps a gap in a circuit and causes what's known as an "arc burn" or "flash burn" when it enters a person's body. Arcing accidents are often caused by the failure of equipment. The hands, head and feet are often affected.

Faulty wiring and incorrect use of extension cords are some other shock dangers that a construction worker might encounter on a jobsite.

While many construction workers are at risk for electrical accidents and electrocution, the work performed by electricians, welders, heavy machinery operators and roofers place them at the highest risk.

Outside the construction industry, the following types of workers also face job-related electricity risks: landscapers (particularly those who work with trees), forest crew workers, tree trimmers, firefighters, farm and agricultural workers, maintenance workers, machine operators, factory workers, mechanics, line workers, and truck drivers. 

Innocent bystanders can be shocked or electrocuted just by being in the proximity of an electrical accident.

The Four Main Types of Electrical Injuries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are four main types of electrical injuries:

  1. Electrocution (which is defined as death by electric shock)
  2. Electric shock
  3. Burns
  4. Falls caused by contact with electricity

You can read more about electrical injuries and safety protocols on the CDC's website.

Electric shock is an injury to the body caused by direct contact with an electrical energy source. Electric shock can be fatal. A person experiencing symptoms including severe burns, muscle pain and contractions, seizures and unconsciousness should seek immediate emergency medical attention.

The severity of injury depends on various factors such as the type of electrical current (AC or DC), amount of voltage, how the current traveled through the worker's body, the worker's overall health and how quickly the worker receives medical treatment. In most cases, a low-voltage electrical shock—a shock under 500 volts—won't cause serious injury. However, even a low-voltage shock has the potential to be deadly.

Even if your injuries appear to be minor, you should get checked out by a doctor. Electric shock can cause internal injuries and other health problems that aren't readily detectable.

Specific electrical injuries include:

  • Electrical burns: When electric current flows through a person's body, it produces heat that causes electrical burns. Burns tend to be most severe at the points of contact, which include the hands, heels and head. Extensive burns are not only extremely painful but can become infected. Physical therapy and reconstructive surgery are often needed in severe cases.
  • Muscle and ligament damage: Involuntary muscle contractions can cause a worker on a ladder or scaffolding to lose his or her balance and fall. These muscle contractions can often be strong enough to break a person's bones.
  • Nerve damage: The nervous system can be seriously impacted by electrical shock. This damage can be minor or in some cases
  • Organ damage: The brain, heart and lungs are often affected by a lack of oxygen caused by electrical shock.
  • Cardiac arrest: A shock can interfere with the rhythmic pumping of the heart.
  • Seizure: In some cases, a seizure disorder can be permanent.
  • Eye damage: Partial or total blindness can result.
  • Ear damage: Rupture of the ear and other trauma is possible.
  • Scarring and disfigurement: Infected burns can lead to serious health consequences.
Preventing Electrical Shock and Electrocution on Construction Sites

Contractors and project managers should comply with OSHA electrical safety regulations and contact electric companies in advance to shut down power lines.

Personal protective equipment such as electrical gloves, face shields and goggles or safety glasses, can shield workers who come in close contact with electrical equipment from certain injuries.

Workers should be trained to handle electrical equipment and electrical power testing equipment such as voltage detectors, clamp meters, and receptacle testers. In addition, they should be trained on the proper use of power tools.

Safe extension cords and outlet strips should be used along with cable covers and cord protectors.

Any areas of wiring that might be an issue should be marked and labeled.

Workers should practice proper lockout/tagout procedures to disable machinery or equipment and prevent hazardous energy release.

Workers should be encouraged to report electrical hazards and other worksite dangers to a supervisor. A safety checklist should be a part of a daily routine.

Qualified electricians should be the only workers performing electrical work on jobsites. Workers who are not skilled electricians pose a danger to themselves and others at the construction site.

To learn more about how our electrocution accident lawyers can help with your electrical shock or electrocution claim, contact Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers today at (617) 777-7777 or use our electronic form.

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