Construction sites are often very active environments. Many different contractors can be present and working on multiple projects at one time. Not to mention the pedestrians or civilians that may be nearby if the site is remains open to the public. With all the activity (plus the presence of heavy machinery and power tools), it’s no surprise that construction workers are at high risk for injury. This blog will look at one specific type of injury that commonly occurs on a construction site: Electrical injuries. The risk of electrical injuries on a construction site is high because of the opportunity for contact with exposed wiring, frayed cords, fallen power poles, high voltage power lines, and defective power tools. If there is any water nearby or chance of a water leak this only increases the electrical injury risk. Exposure to this conditions can lead to serious injuries such as burns, neurological problems, and death by electrocution.
Injuries From Electrical Risk on Construction Sites
Electrical exposure causes two main injuries: burns from high temperatures and shock. Burns can be categorized as contact or arc flash. Shock can lead to a variety of further injuries and some of the common conditions include:
- *Damage to internal organs
- *Heart damage or cardiac arrest
- *Nerve and muscle damage
- *Mental impairment and neurological problems
- *Death by electrocution
Electrical Shock Leading to Heart Damage Of all of these issues, the most common outcome of electrical shock is heart damage. Interference with heart functions can result no matter where the electrical shock occurred on the body. Possible types of resulting heart conditions include irregular heartbeat, a heartbeat that is too quick or too slow (cardiac dysrhythmia), tissue damage (necrosis), inner muscle damage (myocardium), and in severe cases, cardiac arrest. Electrical Contact Burns Contact burns occur inside the body. This type of electrical burn occurs when the electricity travels internally through the body and is then converted to heat. The severity of a contact burn is determined by a number of factors: the intensity, any present resistance, the duration of contact, the type of electrical current, and the direction the current takes through the body. The important thing to remember is that electrical contact burns often do not appear severe. While regular burns leave very noticeable marks on the skin, electrical contact burns may not because the majority of the damage occurs internally. This is because skin is a poor conductor of electricity and will resist damage. Internal organs and bones, however, are good conductors of electricity and very prone to damage. So don’t be fooled; workers exposed to electrical shock may actually suffer a sever internal burn even though the skin does not look too damaged. This can be dangerous because injuries is not always immediately apparent. A worker may walk away from a contact burn incident relatively unharmed, then develop serious internal organ damage gradually. Electrical Arc Flash Burns Arc flash burns, on the other hand, are electrical burns that occur outside the body on the skin’s surface. This type of electrical burn is really caused by extreme temperatures rather than the electrical current. When an electrical current travels through the air between two different points, it is called an “arc.” Skin that happens to be in the way of this arc can be severely burned externally. The result of an arc flash burn closely resembles that of a fire burn or heat burn. Electrical arc flashes can heat up to 18,000 degrees fahrenheit, ignite flammable substances, and cause fires. If a fire starts from an arc flash, even further injuries from smoke inhalation and the fire are possible.
Electrical Accidents Happen At Construction Sites
Construction workers should be highly trained in the dangers of electricity and knowledgeable of safety precautions when working with or near high voltage. Even when contractors are not working directly with wiring or power lines, there is often a chance of coming in contact with them by mistake. Plus, any type of power tool or equipment can malfunction and leave the worker susceptible to electrical currents from the power source. Adequate training, knowledge, safety precautions, and preventative measures are essential when working with or near electrical currents on a construction site. However, accidents and mistakes can still happen. If you are a contractor who suffered an electrical injury at work, you may be able to receive compensation for medical costs and lost wages. The best way to find out if you are eligible for benefits is to consult with a skilled lawyer knowledgeable of workers’ compensation laws in your state. After determining if you may qualify for benefits, a lawyer can be extremely helpful and even instrumental in making sure you receive that compensation. They can file necessary paperwork, gather evidence, contact witnesses, and develop your case. They will also be knowledgeable of workers’ compensation laws and have experience with the process. Your lawyer will take care of all the details while you focus on making a full and healthy recovery. In addition, an advanced attorney will have plenty of experience dealing with insurance companies. Insurance companies can be strategic and attempt to discredit your case in order to offer a lesser compensation amount than you really deserve. A good attorney will be familiar with these tactics and how to best handle the situation. These skills will be especially important if your injury had a delayed onset or developed gradually, which is possible with a contact burn from electrical shock. Insurance companies may argue that the injury was caused by some other incident because of the passage of time. Your lawyer can help find evidence and proof connecting your current injury to the previous construction accident.
Electrical Injury Victims Can Find a New Jersey Worker’s Compensation Lawyer Today
Contact The Hayes Firm to find a local New Jersey lawyer today. The Hayes Firm is a free lawyer finding service with an extensive network of carefully screened and qualified workers’ compensation lawyers. The lawyers that we have selected for our network are experienced, successful, and knowledgeable of New Jersey workers’ compensation law. After you give us a call or send us an email, we will review the details of your case as soon as possible. If we determine that further legal action is viable, we will then connect you with a lawyer near you completely free of charge. Contact us today and take the first step in finding a local, skilled attorney that will work hard on your behalf.