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Improvements in electrical safety for construction workers

Construction workers in Texas and around the country are more likely to be killed or injured in electrical accidents than workers in any other industry. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Electrical Safety Foundation International show that 52 percent of those killed in such accidents between 1992 and 2010 worked in construction. This was four times the death rate of professional and business services workers who were the group with the second highest number of electrical fatalities.

The data shows that most of the construction worker accidents related to electricity involved electrical burns. The injury and death figures related to electrical accidents have declined significantly since 1992. The greatest improvement in electrical fatality figures occurred between 2006 and 2010 when the number of deaths dropped by about a third. The number of nonfatal injuries has seen even greater improvement with a drop of approximately 60 percent between 1992 and 2010.

In addition to having the highest number of fatal electrical accidents, construction workers also had the highest rate of electrical shocks. The statistics showed that construction workers suffered electrical shocks at triple the rate of workers in private industry as a whole. The BLS and ESFI data shows that the most common causes of workplace electrical accidents were contact with overhead power lines, contact with transformers or wiring and shocks from machines, tools, fixtures or appliances.

In addition to filing a workers' compensation claim, construction workers hurt on the job may seek civil remedies if it is apparent that a non-employer third party was partially or wholly responsible for the workplace injury. A personal injury attorney can be of assistance in this regard.

Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International, "Electrical Safety Then and Now", November 30, 2014

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