One of the principal rules when dealing with electrical wires is to always assume that a wire, whether it be fallen and dangling or properly secured, is “live.” When speaking about electricity, “live” means electrified, and by extension, means the wire in question is dangerous. That’s why it’s always best to err on the side of caution and treat all wires as potential threats. Approaching a wire with care and attention is a must. Those who handle wires, even experienced electricians and construction workers, should have a healthy understanding and respect for electricity’s true and often devastating force. Even if a wire appears to be insulated properly, an experienced handler of wires will warn you to keep your distance. Remember, the danger of electricity is amplified exponentially in damp conditions. That’s why you should never work with wires or other electrified equipment if you’re standing in or near water.
If you are an experienced construction worker, you likely already know the dangers of electricity. What common folk may not realize, however, is that electrocution is part of the colloquial “Fatal Four,” which refers to the four most common worksite fatalities amongst construction workers. (The other three? Deaths caused by workers getting struck with objects, deaths caused by workers being trapped between or caught in objects and/or machinery, and deaths caused by falls.) Electrocution’s inclusion in this deadly quartet is a dubious and unwelcome honor. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we preach awareness and advise all construction site foremen to employ thorough training programs for all initiates. This way, we can hopefully see a decline in electrocutions in the future.
Why exactly is electricity so dangerous? Well, a powerful enough shock can interrupt the normal beating of a human heart, resulting in potentially deadly arrhythmia. And it only takes a surprisingly small amount of electricity to throw a heart out of rhythm. Enough electrical stimulation can also paralyze your respiratory muscles, which can restrict your ability to breathe, leading to death. Lucky for humans, though, our skin offers enough resistance to keep low levels of electricity from doing too much damage.
It’s important to note that electrocution injuries aren’t limited to construction sites. Roadside wires have been known to sever and swing into traffic, which presents an immediate danger for all nearby motorists. It is widely recommended that if you are able to drive away from such a scenario, you should, but if a livewire does come in contact with your vehicle, it is advised that you remain in said vehicle and await professional assistance.
Here are the four major categories of electricity-related injuries:
- Struck By Lightning: The rarest type of electrocution, those struck by lightning are delivered an immense amount of voltage over a very short amount of time.
- Flame / Fire Injuries: Occur when electricity causes clothing to catch fire. This is a peripheral danger of electricity.
- Flash Injuries: When electricity causes burns to the skin without electrical energy actually traveling through a victim’s body, it is called a “flash” injury.
- True Electrical Injuries: This is an electric-based injury in the classical sense. Improper grounding of equipment that uses electricity, the improper handling of said equipment, or contact with an electrified medium can all cause “true” electrocutions. So too can exposure to dangerously exposed downed power lines.
If you or a loved one has been injured by electricity, on a construction site or otherwise, it is imperative that you contact Kaplan Lawyers PC for a free consultation. As your medical bills begin to amass, it may become necessary to retain legal counsel and seek restitution to combat these costs. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we have a skilled and compassionate team of attorneys on standby, ready and able to win you the compensation that you deserve.