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Don't Get Shocked

According to OSHA, electrocution is the fifth leading cause of occupational fatalities, accounting for 300 to 400 fatalities a year. It is the second most common cause of construction-related fatalities.

When a worker comes into contact with electric current, the damage escalates with the amount of energy that enters the body. The degree of injury depends on the duration and frequency of the current. Possible injuries include contact wounds, burns, respiratory difficulties, bone and muscle injury, heart and other organ damage, and neurological impairment. Eye cataracts from electrical injury can develop up to three years after shock has occurred.

According to the National Electrical Safety Foundation, Rosslyn VA, employers and employees alike must be committed to reducing and eliminating exposure to electrical hazards. Safety programs should consider:

  • The environment--It is wet or dry? Are cords lying over a heat source?
  • The condition of equipment.
  • Electrical safety work practices--Are operating procedures up to date? Do employees use electrically insulated tools and gloves?

For more on electrical safety, visit the National Electrical Safety Foundation website at