Electrical hazards can take on a variety of forms and will most commonly
pose serious injury risk to electricians or mechanics who are performing
basic electrical installation or repair work. There are four classes of
different types of electrical injuries:
Most current numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) have shown approximately 24,100 non-fatal work related electrical injuries
between 2004 and 2013. While it doesn’t happen often, electrical
injuries do have the potential to be deadly. During that same time frame
BLS identified 1,962 fatal electrical injuries. Not only can electrical
injuries trigger traumas throughout the body and induce a range of complications
like cardiopulmonary arrest, renal failure, and sepsis, exposure to electricity
may also produce long-term neurological and psychosocial effects and significantly
influence the quality of life.
The most common electrical injury events associated in the workplace are
electric shocks, arc flash, and arc blast. Low-voltage shock injuries
result from direct contact of the worker with electric current, while
high-voltage shocks typically create an arc, which carries electric current
from the source to the worker without any direct physical contact.
The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) helps
define arc flash as, “when current passes through air between two
or more conducting surfaces or from conductors to ground.” Arc flash
has a variety of possible causes, including gaps in insulation, corrosion,
condensation, and dust or other impurities on a conducting surface. Arc
flash has the potential to produce temperatures as high as 35,000 degrees,
radiant energy up to four times the temperature of the sun, and may cause:
Arc blast can be created by an explosive energy released during an arc
flash explosion. BLS reports arc blast sending more than 2,000 electrical
workers to medical centers each year.
Fluke is a leader in the manufacturing, distribution and service of electronic
test tools and software, and offers this definition on understanding an
arc blast. Arc blast occurs when the accompanying pressure of an arc flash
produces waves that can damage hearing or brain function and send loose
equipment, tools, machinery, and debris flying to cause further injuries.
Despite companies saying they follow best practices, arc flash and arc
blast are real dangers in electrical environments. And most of these workers
injured will not have been properly warned of the magnitude of the hazard
or may not have been warned at all. Employers should be implementing an
overall electrical safety program as part of their occupational health
and safety management system and include risk assessment procedures to
address employee exposure to electrical hazards. By following best practices,
using the proper equipment, and staying as far away from energized components
as possible workers can reduce their risk of those events.
Fluke has also created seven safety measures workers can take to reduce
the risk of arc flash which we thought served as great reminders for both
employees and their workers to avoid
If your employer failed to protect you from workplace hazards or your electrical
injury could have been prevented by a training program or better safeguards,
contact the work injury and
compensation lawyers at Wagner Reese to find out
more information about how we can help. We won’t collect any fees unless your case
is settled or won.
Connect with us by
submitting our online form and our attorneys will review your information. If you wish to speak directly
with us, please call (888) 204-8440.