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On the Job Fatalities: Electrocution Dangers Facing Utility Workers

Person ElectrocutadedNo matter what your profession may be, there is always an element of risk involved but for those working as utility linemen or women the risk is even greater. In fact, utility line work ranks as one of the top ten most dangerous professions in the United States. Recent reports estimate that 30 to 50 workers for every 100,000 lose their lives while many others suffer the loss of limbs from electrical burns or mechanical trauma. Statistically, this is twice the number of fatalities annually for first-responders like police and fire fighters—professions often considered by most to be extremely dangerous.

Deadly Example

Earlier this year, a Southern California Edison worker was electrocuted while working to repair storm-damaged power lines. The worker had slipped and became intertwined in the lines and died from a lethal level of electrical shock.

For the lay person not familiar with electrical shock, just imagine your body being used as a conductor for an electrical current. When the current is at an extremely high level, the body will cease all vital organ function and contact may cause burns to both muscle and skin tissue.

Often the length of time the current is conductive may also cause an “attachment” of the utility worker to the electrical producing agent causing levels of severe internal damage. In addition, the “path” the current takes throughout the body may affect vital organs in various different ways, such as when the current passes as hand to hand or head to foot.

Improving Safety Protocols

For those working in the utility industry, safety and observation remain key. All utility workers should carefully inspect their work environment and document any type of potential electrical hazards. Both employer and employees should understand the complexities and increased risk of working with electrical components around water and high voltage areas, as well as the heightened risk of working in extreme temperatures (sweating) and not wearing the proper protective gear.   

Those entering the industry in California should also be aware of the state’s efforts to ensure safety by obtaining a copy of the Cal/OSHA (California Occupational Safety & Health Administration) Guide to Electrical Safety. This informative guide is broken down into sections based upon the level and risk when working within varying voltage environments.

Seeking Legal Help?

If you have experienced the death of a loved one due to the suspected absence of training, education or appropriate supervision in a high voltage level environment, the skilled Monterey wrongful death attorneys of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. offer our sincere condolences and would encourage you to contact our offices. Serving Pacific Grove, Santa Cruz, Carmel and Salinas, our team strongly believes there is no room for employer negligence in any profession.  

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