Working construction can be fulfilling, demanding and dangerous. Construction-related accidents can cause a variety of severe and debilitating injuries as well as death. Workers in this industry must be on the alert for any job hazards, and their employers must provide proper safety-related training.
Electrocution is among the construction industry’s “Focus Four Hazards” as named by the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA). Besides electrocution, the other three are falls, caught-in/in-between accidents and struck-by accidents. This quartet of mishaps combines for nearly 60% of the fatalities in the construction industry.
Four times more likely to face electrocution
The statistics on construction-related electrocutions remains disturbing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 61% of the country’s workplace electrocutions took place in the construction industry in 2015. Construction workers accounted for 82 of the 134 electrocution deaths that year. In addition, construction workers are roughly four times more likely to encounter electrocution than workers in all other industries combined.
When it comes to occupation, electricians accounted for the most deaths in the construction industry. A total of 105 electricians died from 2011 to 2015. But industry workers at the highest risk were power-line installers. While 32 power-line installers died during that period, this group accounted for a death rate of 29.7 per 100,000 full-time workers.
Focus on safety remains essential
Besides electricians and power-line installers, other construction-related occupations with a higher rate of electrocution incidents include:
- Foremen (31 deaths)
- Roofers (24 deaths)
- HVAC mechanics (21 deaths)
- Laborers (13 deaths)
The CDC reported that contact with live electrical equipment and wiring accounted for more than half of the electrocutions of these workers.
We understand that electrocutions are preventable. Employers, job sites, project leaders as well as workers must continue to focus on safety standards and training. It is always crucial to be cautious when working with power lines, while also properly maintaining equipment and wearing personal protective equipment.