Affordable, reliable electricity is fundamental to our modern lives. It provides light around the clock, cools and heats our homes, and powers the digital world we tap into with smart phones and computers. Although millions of Americans plug into the electric grid every day, most of us don’t give it a second thought. But, the voltage and electrical currents in regular businesses and homes has enough power to kill. Although rare, even changing a light bulb can be potentially fatal without proper safety.
On average, 51,000 electrical home structure fires occur each year, claiming almost 500 lives, injuring more than 1,400 people, and causing more than $1.3 billion in property damage. Electrocution is the fifth leading cause of occupational injury death in the United States. In particular, electricity is a hazard to those whose work routinely brings them into close proximity to electrical sources.
Electrical injuries are often from dramatic accidents. Victims who survive electrocution often require extensive medical treatment. The immediate effects of electrical injury are usually obvious. Injuries include burns, cardiac arrhythmia, seizures, and sensory and motor problems. However, long-term injuries can be more subtle and less well defined, but can include neurological, psychological, and physical symptoms.
Low-voltage currents (60 to 1000 volts) are the most common causes of electric burns. According to a study from The National Institutes of Health, 63% of electrical injuries were due to appliance and extension cords. While most of these injuries are minor, a low voltage current can be fatal if the exposure is long enough.
High-voltage (over 1000 volts) injuries are usually work related. During electrocution, electrical energy converts into thermal energy which causes damage to the skin and underlying tissues. Therefore, high-voltage electrical injuries can lead to extensive necrosis, tissue loss, and severe damage to muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and bone. This damage can result in amputations, renal failure, and many other systemic complications. Furthermore, there are frequent reports of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Electrical injuries in the workplace can be hugely devastating. Statistics clearly show that exposure to electricity is a major cause of injury and death among electricians and construction workers. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. The attorneys and staff at the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess have over 20 years of legal experience. We are experts with extensive knowledge of The Occupational Safety and Health Act and Workers’ Compensation. If you have injuries because of negligence, contact our offices today! We can help to ensure that you get the medical and financial help you may need.
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Electrical injuries are often dramatic accidents that are potentially fatal!