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Workplace Electrical Shock & Electrocution Accidents

During 2020, there were over 2,200 nonfatal workplace accident electrical injuries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Electrical Safety Foundation International. During that same year, there were 126 fatal workplace accident electrocution injuries. If you or a loved have suffered this type of workplace injury, the legal team at The Doan Law Firm at (800) 349-0000 is here for you. You can schedule a no-cost and no-obligation initial consultation with an experienced Houston workplace injury attorney from our firm any time that is convenient for you.

Workplace Accidents Resulting in Electrical Shock or Electrocution

There are a number of more commonly occurring types of workplace accidents that give rise to electrical shock or electrocution injuries:

  • Contact with power lines
  • Lack of ground-fault protection
  • Path to ground missing or discontinuous
  • Equipment not used in manner prescribed
  • Improper use of extension or flexible cords
  • Contact with energized source
  • Inadequate wiring
  • Overloaded circuits
  • Damaged power tools and equipment
  • Inadequate training

Contact with Power Lines

One of the most dangerous types of accidents, this occurs when a worker inadvertently comes into direct contact with an overhead power line. The high voltage carried by these lines can lead to serious injuries or even fatalities. It is, therefore, crucial to maintain a safe distance from power lines and to use appropriate safety equipment when working near them.

Lack of Ground-Fault Protection

This refers to an unintentional electrical path between a power source and a grounded surface. If workers are exposed to a ground fault without having proper protection mechanisms in place, they can suffer from severe electrical shocks. Hence, installing ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) is critical in preventing such incidents.

Path to Ground Missing or Discontinuous

A missing or discontinuous path to ground can cause a buildup of electrical energy. This can lead to an electrical shock if a worker comes into contact with the energized part. This underscores the importance of ensuring a continuous path to the ground, which can be achieved by regular maintenance and inspection of electrical systems.

Equipment Not Used in Manner Prescribed

Accidents can occur when electrical equipment is not used as intended by the manufacturer or is used in a way that bypasses safety features. This misuse can expose workers to unnecessary risks, including electrical shocks or electrocution. Regular training on the correct use of equipment and strict adherence to safety guidelines can help avoid these incidents.

Improper Use of Extension and Flexible Cords

Extension and flexible cords can pose a tripping hazard or can lead to electrical shocks if they are damaged, overloaded, or used inappropriately. Therefore, it’s important to use these cords as per manufacturer guidelines, and to routinely check them for damage or wear and tear.

Contact with Energized Source

This involves a worker accidentally coming into contact with a source of electricity that is live or energized. This can lead to electrical shocks or electrocution, underlining the need for careful handling of electrical sources and the use of protective gear.

Inadequate Wiring

If the wiring is not done correctly or is insufficient for the electrical load it carries, it can result in electrical shocks and even fires. This highlights the necessity for professional installation and regular maintenance of electrical wiring, as well as the use of wiring that is appropriate for the intended load.

Overloaded Circuits

Overloading an electrical circuit can cause the wiring to overheat, potentially leading to a fire or electrical shock. To maintain safety standards, it’s crucial to ensure that circuits are not overloaded, and that circuit breakers or fuses are used to prevent overheating.

Damaged Power Tools and Equipment

Using power tools and equipment that are damaged can expose workers to the risk of electrical shock, particularly if the equipment is not properly grounded or if protective insulation is damaged. Regular inspection and maintenance of tools and equipment, as well as the immediate repair or replacement of damaged items, can help mitigate such risks.

Inadequate Training

Unfortunately, in some instances, electrocution and other electrical injuries arising in the workplace are the result of inadequate or improper training of workers. The grim reality is that these types of workplace accidents generally are wholly avoidable in the first instance.

Workplace Electrical Shock or Electrocution Injuries

Workplace electrical shock or electrocution injuries come in a number of different forms. Indeed, in the aftermath of many workplace accidents of this type, a worker suffers different types of electrical shock or electrocution injuries that may include:

  • Electrical burns
  • Electrical shock
  • Arc flash
  • Arc blast
  • Thermal burns
  • Secondary injuries
  • Internal injuries

Electrical Burns

Electrical burns are injuries that occur when a worker comes into direct contact with live electrical sources. These injuries can cause serious damage to both the skin and internal tissues of the body. The location of these burns is not limited to the point of contact, but can also be found throughout the body if the electricity has passed through it. The severity of the burns can vary, ranging from minor superficial burns to deep tissue damage that requires intensive medical care.

Electrical Shock

Electrical shock injuries occur when a worker’s body unexpectedly becomes part of an electrical circuit. This typically happens when a person accidentally comes into contact with both wires of an electrical circuit, a wire of an energized circuit and the ground, or a metallic part that has become energized. The severity of the shock can differ greatly, from a slight tingle to severe burns and even heart failure.

Arc Flash

An Arc Flash is a type of electrical explosion or discharge that results from a low-impedance connection through air to ground or another voltage phase in an electrical system. The explosion can cause severe burns, blindness, and hearing loss. The severity and extent of the injuries often leave victims with life-changing injuries, requiring long-term medical care and rehabilitation.

Arc Blast

An Arc Blast, similar to an arc flash, occurs when an electrical explosion creates a pressure wave. This explosion can cause a range of injuries, from those caused by the blast itself, such as being thrown against a wall or other solid object, to hearing damage from the loud sound of the explosion. These injuries can require extensive medical treatment and often have long-term effects on the victim’s health and quality of life.

Thermal Burns

Thermal burns are caused by the extreme heat generated from an electrical arc or explosion. The heat can be so intense that it ignites the skin, clothing, and other materials, resulting in severe burns. These burns can cause significant pain and damage, requiring immediate medical attention and potentially long-term care.

Secondary Injuries

Secondary injuries are those that occur as a result of an electrical incident but are not caused directly by the electricity. For example, a worker may fall from a ladder or scaffold after receiving an electrical shock. These injuries can include broken bones, head injuries, and sprains. Although they are not caused by the electricity directly, these injuries can still be serious and require immediate medical attention.

Internal Injuries

Internal injuries are injuries that can occur to internal organs from a high voltage shock. The electric current can cause muscles to contract violently, leading to potential damage to a variety of internal organs. These types of injuries may not be immediately apparent but can be serious or even fatal. Even after surviving the initial shock, victims may require long-term medical care to treat and monitor these internal injuries.

What is the Texas Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?

Keep in mind that you have a specific period of time in which you can file a Houston personal injury lawsuit. This is governed by what is known as the Texas statute of limitations. There are some important facts and factors that you need to understand about the Texas statute of limitations:

  • The general rule in Texas, in terms of personal injury cases, is that the statute of limitations is two years. This means that individuals who have been injured have two years from the date of the injury to initiate a lawsuit. This time limit is determined by the state legislature and is aimed at ensuring that lawsuits are brought within a reasonable time frame.
  • The two-year window to file a lawsuit begins from the date of the injury. This is known as the “date of discovery” rule. This rule insists that a personal injury lawsuit must be initiated within two years from the date the injury occurred or was inflicted.
  • However, in some cases, an injury may not be discovered immediately at the time it occurs. For instance, certain medical malpractice injuries may not become apparent until a considerable amount of time has passed. In such cases, the “discovery rule” applies. According to this, the statute of limitations begins from the date the injury was discovered or could have reasonably been discovered, rather than from the date the injury actually occurred.
  • Despite the general two-year statute of limitations, there are some exceptions to this rule in Texas. For example, if the person who was injured was a minor (under 18 years of age) or was mentally incapacitated at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations may be extended. This allows these individuals more time to file a lawsuit once they have reached the age of majority or have regained mental capacity.
  • Finally, the statute of limitations is not just a guideline, but a firm deadline. If a lawsuit is not initiated within the prescribed time limit, the right to sue and recover damages may be lost. This underscores the importance of taking legal action promptly after an injury. A failure to do so can result in a loss of rights and potential compensation.

Protect Your Legal Rights – Call a Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one have suffered a workplace injury of any type, including one involving electrical shock or electrocution, you need to be proactive to ensure your important legal rights are protected. Schedule a consultation with a Doan Law Firm personal injury lawyer by calling us at (800) 349-0000 or connecting with us through our website.

The Doan Law Firm makes an attorney fee pledge to you. We guarantee that we will never charge an attorney fee unless we win your case for you.

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