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Most contract worker electrocution deaths are in construction

After analyzing electrocution deaths among contract workers from 2012 to 2016, the National Fire Protection Association found that the majority of them are in the construction and extraction fields. Specifically, of the 13 percent of contract workers who died from electrocution, 68 percent were in those industries. Almost 30 percent of the deaths took place on construction sites. Contract workers in Texas will want to know what is causing this trend.

Contract workers are either self-employed independent contractors or employees of another firm; both are represented in the figures. Of the construction contract worker electrocution fatalities, 57 percent were construction trade workers, 31 percent were electricians and 11 percent were construction laborers. Roofers and supervisors both made up 5 percent of the total. Approximately 42 percent died through direct exposure to electricity greater than 220 volts while 37 percent were killed through indirect contact.

The NFPA suggests that contract workers are not being trained as thoroughly as regular employees. The pressure to complete a project on time and on or under budget can endanger contract workers by forcing them to work long hours in a fast-paced environment.

OSHA offers several electrical safety tips. For instance, workers should de-energize all overhead and underground power lines prior to starting a project. People, tools, vehicles and electrical equipment should be at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.

When employees incur a workplace injury through little or no fault of their own, they may be able to file for workers' compensation. They do not need to show that their employer or anyone else was negligent; on the other hand, they must waive their right to sue their employer in the future. The employer may raise complaints, which is why victims might want a lawyer by their side. If a claim is denied, the lawyer may be able to mount an appeal.

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