How many people are affected by electrocution?

Our attorneys are sharing recent statistics from electrocution accidents throughout the country, which mostly affect utility and construction workers

Power is everywhere in the modern world, and installations exist wherever we work, live or play. While that equals electricity at our finger tips at all times, it also means people are injured and killed in electrocution accidents — the majority of which are construction and utility workers.

 

According to the CDC’s NIOSH, the construction industry comprises approximately 8% of the U.S. workforce, yet it accounts for 44% of job-related fatalities. Consider the statistics:

  • Electrical hazards cause more than 300 deaths and 4,000 injuries each year among the U.S. workforce.
  • Electrocution is sixth among causes of workplace deaths in America.
  • Construction trades, and installation/maintenance/repair professionals are the top two groups suffering the most fatal electrocution work-related accidents, from 2003-2007.

Electrocution accidents involving heavy equipment

The construction industry represents 52% of all occupational electrocutions, according to the recent CDC study referenced above. Below are some statistics on the heavy equipment in the trades and related electrocution accidents:

  • Heavy equipment events accounted for 50% of those overhead power contacts, with cranes comprising 56.5%, drilling rigs 7.7%, dump trucks 6.7%, bucket trucks 6.7% and backhoes 4.9%.
  • Carried items comprised 20.5% of overhead line contacts, ladders 12.9%, scaffolding 2.2%, and direct human contact another 10.2%.
  • More than than 90% of power line contact accidents involved overhead distribution conductors.
  • Drop-down services from power poles to houses, and high power transmission lines connecting generating stations to substations, only resulted in 7% of workplace power line accidents.
  • Labor trades with considerable risk, in addition to heavy equipment operators, were roofing/siding/sheet metal contractors (9.3%), tree trim contractors (8.5%), water/sewer/pipeline personnel and communication contractors (7.9%), and painting contractors (7.3%).

Just how many people are injured or killed in electrocution accidents?

It’s estimated that 62 agricultural workers/yr. die from electrocution in the U.S., with overhead power lines being the most common source.

And each year, many children and adults are electrocuted or seriously injured in this country due to accidental contact with floating phases, downed power lines or objects such as green wood or fences in contact with downed wires.

The vast majority of these tragic events are preventable, if utility companies use the best available preventive maintenance, inspection, and repair practices that are required by law. They must also attend to hazards resulting from aging infrastructure and components, maintain proper tree trim scheduling cycles and promptly respond to storm damage and direct and indirect knowledge of floating and downed wires.

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