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Electrocution deaths are a major problem

Construction projects in Boston, Massachusetts, sometimes involve accidents of various kinds. Those who suffer injuries in those accidents are entitled to workers' compensation. One is fatal electrocutions.

According to a recent report from the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), released Nov. 1, fatal electrocution was the cause of death for 82 construction workers in 2015. Despite that being a 39 percent reduction in electrocution deaths since 2003 for the construction industry, the CPWR says that it is still unacceptably high. According to their report, 61 percent of all 2015 work-related electrocution deaths were in the construction industry.

The data in the report, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, says that the construction subsector with the most electrocution deaths is electrical contractors, at 32 percent. It also says that electric parts were the source of electrocution in 52 percent of the cases, with power lines, transformers and converters being some of the primary culprits.

One hundred and five electricians were fatally electrocuted, which is a higher number than any other occupation. The highest rate of electrocution fatalities, 29.7 per 100,000 full-time workers, was amongst power line installers. Workers ages 35 to 44 had a higher percentage of total electrocution fatalities, 28.3 percent, than any other.

The report recommends some solutions to prevent future electrocution deaths among construction workers. One is simply ensuring the usage of personal protective equipment, such as nonconductive clothes and rubber gloves. Workers and supervisors can both contribute to making sure that happens on a consistent basis. Owners of construction companies can do their part by making that policy with penalties for noncompliance.

Additionally, the report recommends engineering controls, such as surge protection devices, can be used so that if something does go wrong, the probability of fatal injury will be less. Additionally, maintenance should be regular and careful, as should inspection of all tools. Nonconductive ladders and cover-up equipment can also help.

Source: Safety Health, "Fatal electrocutions ‘unacceptably high’ in construction industry despite decline: CPWR," Nov. 07, 2017

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