Electrical workers are vital to the daily operations on a construction site. From providing power needed for tools and lighting to installing the wiring and fuses that will power the final structure, electricians play an important role in the development of every project. Unfortunately, even the most cautious electricians face hazards on a construction site that may result in injury or death.
Common Injuries Electrical Workers Suffer on Construction Sites
While electricians and electrical workers face the same risks as other employees on construction sites, they are also exposed to additional hazards such as:
- Electrocution. A sudden discharge of electricity can cause a wide range of injuries, including brain damage, cardiac arrest, respiratory distress, internal organ damage, or death. Even if the incident is not fatal, an employee may still suffer severe pain, nerve damage, and emotional effects of the injury that prevents him or her from earning a living.
- Burn injuries. Electricians can suffer burn injuries through direct contact with the current or thermal burns from electrical fires. A burn can damage several layers of the skin and cause sensory deficits, deep tissue infections, or scarring and disfigurement.
- Fall injuries. Electrical workers may suffer a sudden shock that causes them to fall from work on a ladder or utility pole, or simply slip while performing work at height.
- Head and neck injuries. Head and neck injuries are unfortunately common among electrical workers, especially due to falling debris or tools, trips and falls, or sudden contact with heavy equipment or materials. Even a relatively minor injury such as a concussion can increase the risk of further traumatic brain injuries, potentially causing permanent brain damage.
- Repetitive strain. The repeated twisting, lifting, and bending motions required to install wiring can cause carpal tunnel syndrome and other soft tissue injuries. Back problems are common, as electricians may hold awkward positions for long periods of time.
- Joint injuries. Electricians often work in confined spaces, placing pressure on their knees, hands, wrists, and elbows. Many wiring installations run below floors (requiring bending or stooping), while others may run through walls and ceilings (placing stress on the shoulders from overhead work).
- Hand and finger injuries. Workers may suffer lacerations or puncture wounds from cutting tools, drills, saws, or nail guns, or even lose fingers due to pinch points in walls or machinery.
- Overexertion. Contractors may require electricians to work overtime or in unfavorable conditions in order to complete a project on time. As a result, electricians may suffer heat stroke from high summer temperatures, frostbite from cold exposure, or exertion injuries from working long hours.
Benefit and Compensation Options for Injured Electrical Workers
Electricians undergo years of training in order to do their jobs safely, and an accident at work can put an end to a potentially lucrative career. A construction site injury can result in a temporary inability to work, push the employee to switch to a different career, or even force a worker to take early retirement. No matter how long an employee is out of work, he or she will likely suffer increased medical bills and financial stress that makes it more difficult to recover from an injury.
The first thing most employees should do after a construction site injury is to access their workers’ compensation benefits. However, many electricians are considered independent contractors rather than construction employees, and may not qualify for workers’ compensation. If you are hurt while working as an electrician, you should speak to an attorney about filing a personal injury lawsuit against the contractor or owner of the site. Even if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you can sue negligent third parties who are responsible for your injury, such as the manufacturer of a defective tool, employer, or a project manager who did not properly follow OSHA regulations.
If you’ve been hurt on a New York construction site, you should not have to pay for your own medical care and suffer because you are unable to work. Our construction injury attorneys will work to get you the compensation you are owed, and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.