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3 common electrocution hazards in the construction industry

Did you know that electrocution is the fourth leading cause of fatal injuries in the construction industry? As a construction worker, you need to know the facts about electrical hazards. If your employer does not properly supervise your construction site or train you for electrical equipment, you could end up seriously injured.

As you know, you work with various types of equipment throughout your day, including tools, power lines and extension cords. Improper use or dangerous contact with these hazards can cause some severe damage. Here is a look at the top three causes of electrocution in construction work.

1. Energized sources

You come into contact with various energized sources on the job. Some common ones include:

  • Wires
  • Live parts
  • Tools
  • Equipment

If your body comes into contact with an electrical circuit from one of these sources, you could sustain shock or burns. Potential burns include thermal contact burns or electrical burns. The shock from these sources with high voltage can be fatal.

2. Power lines

Both buried and overhead power lines carry high voltage. While fatal shock is a significant risk, you also face potential burns and falls associated with power lines. If you are working with a ladder, man-basket or crane, you could get electrocuted and possibly fall. Touching a covered power line is even potentially fatal, because the covering is for weather protection.

3. Extension cords

Extension cords go through a lot. When these cords become damaged, wires can loosen or become exposed. This increases your risk of contacting an electrical current. You probably use power tools with extension cords frequently. Make sure the cords are properly maintained and handled.

If you notice any of these hazards at your construction site, make sure you inform your employer. Electrocution can happen when you least expect it. If it does not result in death, it can cause severe burns. Read this training guide on electrocution hazards by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.