Electrocution is a common hazard on construction sites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that electrical injuries occurring on construction sites account for a large portion of those that happen annually in the United States.
Addressing the problem of electrical injuries on construction sites requires an understanding of why they happen and how to prevent them.
Why electrical accidents happen on construction sites
Electrical accidents on construction sites often result from contact with electrical power lines. These can be either underground or overhead. Another common cause is a failure to de-energize circuits before working on them.
Construction sites use a lot of temporary power for lighting the work site and using tools. Damage to extension cords, or the improper use of them, is another cause of electrical accidents and injuries in construction.
Electrical accidents and injuries can occur when workers do not receive adequate training in working with electricity.
How to prevent electrical accidents
Construction workers of all trades, not just electrical specialists, should receive training in electrical safety. For workers who do not speak English, training materials should be available in their native language.
Before work begins, it is important to identify and clearly mark the location of buried power lines. Workers should also receive instruction on how to avoid contact with overhead lines.
To ensure de-energization of circuits before anyone works on them, construction sites should implement and enforce proper lock-out and tag-out procedures.
Workers on a construction site should inspect extension cords before using them and report any damage.
Electricity has the power to stop a person’s heart. For this reason, electrical injuries have the potential to turn fatal.