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OSHA highlights hazards of electrical industry

Engineers, electricians and others who work with electricity, especially with overhead lines and circuit assemblies, know that their industry is fraught with hazards. OSHA is now trying to raise awareness of these hazards so that both employers and employees in Texas and across the U.S. can work together to prevent serious injuries, illnesses and fatalities in this industry.

OSHA already has numerous resources to this end, including the Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs that can help employers identify and remove or fix electrical hazards. But OSHA is focusing on the electrical industry in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska after a series of inspections between January 2015 and September 2018.

During that time, there were 15 reports of electrical workers being hospitalized and two cases of workers having limbs amputated. From October 2012 to September 2018, six electrical and wiring installation contractors were killed on the job. Regional OSHA administrators in these three states say that training and a safety program can help reduce injuries and death.

Small- and medium-sized businesses that need help identifying electrical hazards and setting up a health and safety program can take advantage of OSHA's On-Site Consultation Program. These services can be had at no cost and are completely confidential. They do not involve penalties or citations.

Electrocution, burns and falls are just some of the accidents that can occur in the industry. Victims have the opportunity, though, to file for workers' compensation benefits. To be eligible, it is not necessary to show that the employer was neglecting workplace safety. On the other hand, they may have to mount an appeal if the employer, claiming that they caused their own injuries, denies payment. This is one reason why they might want to hire a lawyer. Workers' comp benefits cover medical expenses and some lost income.

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