Construction has long been one of the most dangerous industries for people in Ohio and elsewhere to work in. Electricity is especially hazardous to work with, and electrical accidents make up a significant portion of serious and fatal workplace injuries each year.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, electrocution is one of the most common fatal accidents in U.S. construction worksites. In 2017, 71 construction workers were killed in accidents involving electricity, making up 7.3% of all construction fatalities that year.
Over a 10-year period, 20,000 workers were killed in electrical accidents, reports the Electrical Safety Foundation International. This organization and others have recognized the need for increased awareness and safety measures involving working with electricity and electrical equipment. Therefore, May has been designated National Electrical Safety Month.
Employers have a responsibility to educate their workers on safety procedures involving electricity, as well as to provide them with the proper equipment and ensure a safe environment. For example, electrical workers should be educated on the correct shoes and gloves to wear when working around electricity. Power tools should be regularly inspected for damage and repaired or replaced to avoid electrical shock. Only properly trained and authorized employees should be allowed to work with electrical wires and cables to reduce the risk of an accident.
Employees should also understand their rights after a workplace accident. This includes the right to seek workers’ compensation after a workplace injury and not to fear retaliation or punishment for filing a claim.