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Why is electrocution a common injury risk for construction workers?

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A construction worker’s life is in danger while working near energized electrical sources. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 140 construction employees die each year as a direct result of unplanned contact with electricity. Learning about electrocution risks—and the best ways to avoid them—can help workers stay safer on construction sites.

What is electrocution?

Electrocution is death by exposure to a high level of electrical energy. It can occur in a fraction of a second. When electrical current enters a worker’s body at one point and leaves at another point, the worker becomes part of a powerful electrical circuit. The resulting shock can stop a person’s heart instantly. Electricity can also cause fatal burns and other severe injuries, as any worker compensation attorney in Woodstock knows.

When do construction workers face the danger of electrocution?

Construction workers are always at risk of electrical injuries, but the highest danger of electrocution occurs in the following circumstances:


  • Live power lines overhead

  • Bare wires or damaged wires

  • Defective electrical equipment

  • Faulty use of extension cords


Any one of these circumstances can lead to sudden death.

Working near power lines and live wires

Many construction workers spend hours on cranes, ladders or baskets near live overhead power lines. It is crucial to respect these lines and avoid touching them at any cost. The normal weather coverings on overhead lines do not insulate them from workers. If the human body makes contact with a high voltage overhead line, electrocution is the most likely result.

Electrocution risk increases in some circumstances

In some circumstances, workers are even more likely to face a severe or fatal electrical shock on the job. A worker compensation attorney in Woodstock is aware that rainy or snowy weather is especially hazardous. If clothing, skin or equipment is wet, electricity flows much more easily and can cause greater damage. When workers perspire in hot weather, they are also at an elevated risk of electrocution.

Common household current is enough to cause death

Fatal shocks do not always come from high voltage wiring. The common 120-volt household current in America is enough to kill a worker in damp conditions if the electricity travels through the person’s heart. Construction workers in indoor home and business settings are still in danger. According to BLS statistics, almost 10 percent of deaths on construction sites are caused by electrocution.

Learning about electrocution risks is an important part of safety on every site. People who have been injured by electricity on the job should consider speaking to a worker compensation attorney in Woodstock.

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908 S Illinois Route 31
McHenry, IL 60050

Phone: 815-669-4635
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