Electrical Safety Tips & Resources

Electrical Safety Resources

Our electrocution lawyers have compiled these electrical safety tips resources to help you keep yourself and your family safe from the dangers of electrocution, electric shock injuries and electrical trauma. These safety tips are intended to prevent injuries at home, at work and outdoors. 

Electrical safety statistics

The electrocution statistics below show how often electricity-related fatal injuries are occurring in the U.S.: 

  • There are an average of 51,000 electrical home fires that occur each year, taking almost 500 lives and injuring another 1,400.
  • Nearly 300 Americans die as a result of electrocution every year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • There were 166 fatal workplace electrical injuries in 2019.
  • There were 1,900 non-fatal workplace electrical injuries in 2019.
  • It is estimated that on average there are 48 electrocution fatalities associated with the use of consumer products every year (the most common consumer products involved with electrocutions are large appliances, small appliances and ladders).
  • There were 33 electrocution-related deaths and 33 electrocution-related injuries in swimming pool and hot tubs between 2002 and 2018. 

Electrical safety tips for the home

Here are electrical safety tips and precautions that you and your family can take to prevent electrocutions and electric shock injuries in your home:

  • Always turn off light switches before changing out burned out light bulbs
  • Keep electrical cords untangled and away from heaters
  • Place drinks away from game consoles and other electronics
  • Do not put anything into an outlet other than an electrical plug
  • Make sure there are no loose-fitting plugs in outlets
  • Replace missing or broken outlet wall plates 
  • Make sure that all unused outlets have safety covers
  • Do not use cords that are torn, frayed or otherwise damaged
  • Remove cords from high-traffic areas in your home
  • Do not nail or staple electrical cords to walls or objects
  • Do not cover electrical cords with rugs, carpet or furniture
  • Do not overload extension cords and make sure they always have safety closures
  • Never use electrical devices or appliances when you are wet or near water (such as using a phone in the tub or turning on a light switch when you are wet)
  • Do not overload sockets or power strips with too much plugs (signs of overload include discolored wall plates, sizzling or burning sounds, burning odor and an audible crackling sound)
  • Use (and regularly test) your GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters)
  • Do not use plugs where the third prong (i.e., the ground pin) has been removed
  • Make sure a light bulb’s wattage matches the size of the lighting fixture
  • Use the correct size circuit breakers and fuses
  • Know where the main circuit breaker is and how to shut off all power 
  • Do not use appliances that repeatedly blow fuses or trip the circuit breaker
  • Do not plug space heaters into power cords and keep them at least 3 feet from combustible materials

Electrical safety tips for outdoors

Here are electrical safety tips and precautions that you and your family can take to prevent electrocutions and electric shock injuries in your home:

  • Stay at least 35 feet away from downed power lines
  • Stay away from low-hanging power lines
  • Call 9-1-1 if you spot or become aware of a downed or low-hanging wire
  • Stay away from transformers (these are green or gray metal boxes you see in your neighborhood that supply power to you and your neighbors)
  • Do not swim during a thunderstorm
  • Never use electrical devices or appliances when you are wet or near water (such as a swimming pool or hot tub)
  • Do not fly anything – such as a kite or a drone – near power lines 
  • Never climb utility poles or the trees around them!
  • Be aware of the location of overhead transmission power lines and your “service drop” (the service power line that transmits electricity from the utility pole to your home) if you or anyone is working on your property and/or on your home
  • Make sure that extension cords that are used outdoors are intended for outdoor use
  • Unplug all portable tools that are not in use
  • Follow our summer storm safety tips

Electrical safety tips for helping electric shock victims indoors

Follow these four important electrical safety tips to avoid being injured when you are trying to help an electric shock victim indoors:

  • Do not touch that person under any circumstances!
  • Switch off the power or electricity source if possible
  • If you cannot shut the power off, you can attempt to separate the person from or move the person away from the electrical current by using a non-conductive material such a wooden or microfiber broom handle or a piece of rope
  • Immediately call or have someone call 9-1-1

Electrical safety tips for helping electric shock victims outdoors

Following these three critical electrical safety tips while treating an electric shock victim outdoors will help keep you safe and help you avoid being injured:

  • You must immediately call 9-1-1 
  • Next, you must call the power company 
  • Do not attempt to touch the person or free them from power lines or electrical wires

Electrical safety tips for helping electric shock victims after they have been separated from the source

Following these electrical safety tips will help you to help electric shock victims after they have been safely separated from the current that injured them:

  1. Check for breathing and a heartbeat. If the victim is not breathing, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (if the person’s heart has stopped beating, you will need someone trained to administer CPR to do so)
  2. You will need to treat the victim for shock. Keep them lying down. If the victim is unconscious, lie them down on their side to allow drainage of fluid. Make sure the person is also covered to preserve body heat, but avoid placing anything over the burn areas, as the fiber could stick to the burns.
  3. If you believe the person has injured their spine or neck, do not move them.
  4. Treat electrical burns by immersing them in cold water. Do not apply grease or oil. If the burns are severe, cut away any loose clothing and cover the burn area with a bandage or piece of clean cloth.

Electrical safety FAQs

Below our electrocution lawyers provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about electrical safety.

What is electrocution?

Electrocution is an electrical injury that results in death. The severity of an electric shock injury is affected by factors that include: (1) the amperage of the electric current; (2) the length of time that a victim was in contact with the electricity source; (3) the pathway that the electric current took as it passes through a person’s body; and (4) the type of electrical current that’s involved (e.g., direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC)).

How does electrocution occur?

The causes of electrocution vary by environment. In the workplace, electrocution can be caused by unsafe working conditions, defective machinery and contact between cranes and tools and power lines. In the home, faulty wiring and malfunctioning appliances can cause electrocutions. Outdoors, downed and low-hanging power lines as well as faulty electrical wiring poses significant electrocution risks. 

What are the most common causes of electrocution?

The most common causes of electrocution include: (1) Accidental contact with exposed electrical sources; (2) Contact with a powerline or electrical arc flash; (3) Faulty electrical wiring; (4) Contact with metal or other conductive material exposed to electrical current (such as a metal ladder which comes into contact with an exposed wire); (5) Lightning from thunderstorms; (6) Accidental contact with a downed power line; and (7) Shock from faulty electrical products such as hair dryers and toasters.

What are the most common electric shock injuries?

The most common injuries related to electric shock include: (1) Severe burns; (2) Cardiac arrest; (3) Brain and other nerve damage; (4) Memory loss; (5) Numbness or tingling; (6) Permanent heart damage; (7) Hearing loss; (8) Seizures; (9) Respiratory failure; (10) Spine injury; (11) Unconsciousness; (12) Headaches; (13) Deformity at point of contact; (14) Cataracts; (15) Loss of kidney function; (16) Cardiac arrest; and (17) Secondary injuries from electric shock induced falls

Is there a treatment for an electrocution injury?

Victims of electric shock should seek and receive medical attention as soon as possible. Treatment for electric shock injuries vary depending on the injury. Treatment may require surgery or even skin grafting. Surgery may be required to remove damaged muscle for severe burns on the hands, legs, or arms. Any internal injuries will require observation, likely followed by surgery. Amputations may even become necessary to save lives.

Need help from an experienced electrocution lawyer?

If you or someone you love is a victim of serious personal injury or death caused by electricity, you can call and speak with Jeff Feldman, perhaps the nation’s most experienced electrocution attorney. Jeff has litigated cases involving low hanging power lines and against utility companies in states throughout the country. You can call toll free at (800) 548-0043 for a free consultation.

(Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), “Workplace Injury & Fatality Statistics”; National Fire Protection Association, “Home Electrical Fires,” March 2019; U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, “Electrocutions Associated with Consumer Products: 2004 – 2013,” May 2017; U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, “Don’t Swim with Shocks: Electrical Safety In and Around Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs”)

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