New York Electrocution and Electricity Related Accident Attorney
Electrocution and Electricity-Related Accidents at Work and at Home
Electricity is everywhere, and we take its power for granted to help us run our households, businesses and jobsites. Most electricity-related accidents occur through lack of practice of safety precautions, as well as lack of knowledge in the area of electricity. Knowing the causes, prevention, guidelines and legalities of an electricity-related accident will serve to ensure that you or someone you know will be in the best hands should something happen.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, “more than 30,000 non-fatal shock accidents occur each year,” and an estimated annual average of 60 electrocutions associated with consumer products result in electricity-related fatalities from the use of small appliances, power tools and lighting equipment. Electricity-related accidents are very serious. If you or someone you know has been injured from an electricity-related accident, the investigation for determining the cause can be a lengthy and overwhelming process. If you suspect negligence on the part of a supervisor or equipment manufacturer, your best course of action is to retain the advice of an attorney who specializes in this area. The Finz & Finz, P.C. personal injury law firm is well-established in such cases and would be happy to talk to you. You can contact the Finz firm toll free at (855) TOP-FIRM or simply fill out the free Electrocution and Electricity-Related Accident Injury Case Evaluation form to begin the process.
Definitions and Common Instances of Electrocution and Electricity-Related Accidents at Work and at Home
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cites that there are at least four types of injuries that result from electricity-related accidents: electrocution, electric shock, electrical burns, and falls which result after coming in contact with electrical energy. Electrocution is death caused by electric shock from a current strong enough that it stops the heart. Electric shock occurs when a body part comes in contact with an electrical source and travels through the skin, muscles or hair. Smaller currents can cause the person to let go of the object, but larger currents where someone cannot process a reaction quickly enough could cause significant injury. Electric shock might not require immediate medical attention, but could have residual effects where a visit to the emergency room is eventual. Electrical burns are burns that travel rapidly through the body caused by an electric current resulting in the skin underneath the surface to become severely damaged. Electrical burn injuries are not always evident at a glance. Falls occur when someone comes in contact with an electrical source, often while on a ladder or piece of equipment. The voltage alone may not have been the immediate cause of death, but the resulting fall when the person loses his balance several feet above the ground could be.
Construction workers take their lives into their hands on a daily basis when it comes to working in an area where power lines and electricity are concerned. Time and time again they encounter downed power lines, buried power lines, power lines near water, and more. They never know what they will find when digging into the ground to find a source of electricity, cutting limbs from trees, or using ladders near telephone wires. Employees in restaurants and offices can also encounter electrical hazards in their own work zones, and precautions must be taken at all times to make sure equipment is in working order, spilled water is mopped up quickly, sockets are not overloaded, and grease is quickly wiped up when splashed on surfaces and floors. In addition to hazards on the job, just as many electricity-related accidents occur in the area we consider our personal safe haven–our home. At home, we see faulty or loose wiring, sockets that are not covered when children are around, appliances balanced too close to a water source, frayed cords, or curling irons and blow dryers placed too close to a sink or tub. A high number of home fires are caused because of faulty electrical distribution systems—fires that take the lives of many and cause billions of dollars in damages.
Common Causes of Electrocution and Electricity-Related Accidents at Work and at Home
Electricity-related accidents of all types are serious and can cause loss of limbs, permanent scarring, irreparable disfiguration, several rounds of surgeries, and death. The stories of these injuries and fatalities are heartbreaking, and many could have been easily avoided with the proper knowledge, training and precautions. Some of the causes of an electricity-related accident are listed below. Do you see some of these hazards in your own home or workplace?
- Electrical wires or breakers that have been improperly labeled before work begins, leading someone into the unknown
- Electrical wires that are not moved, clearing the way for the work to begin on a jobsite
- Power lines that are situated in a way that they may come in contact with equipment
- Faulty or loose wiring, or wires placed too close to a heat source
- A socket that has become loose, or emits an odor or humming sound
- Overloaded sockets, plugs and extension cords which cause wiring to heat up and spark
- Unknown layout of walls and ceilings, causing the user to drill into an area that leads to contact with a wire
- Drilling too close to light fixtures or plug sockets
- Lack of knowledge or training in the field of electricity (particularly common among tree trimmers)
- Not realizing a downed power line is an active line
If you suspect that any of the above factors have played a part in your injury, or the death of someone you know, you will want to seek the advice of an expert before you proceed with any legal action on your own. If you have encountered an area where there may be a potential hazard, it is best to let the proper authorities take care of that area before it becomes a danger zone. Cities and towns have their own regulatory agencies who supervise these conditions, and you will want to be sure you utilize the proper channels for these types of problems.
Prevention and Protection Against Electrocution and Electricity-Related Accidents at Work and at Home
We can count a number of areas in our homes and work places that require electricity, and we don’t always take precautions, especially in the area where the highest probability of risk occurs—the bathroom. We simply plug in the curling iron balanced on the ledge near the sink; we eagerly use a new toaster, despite that it might be located too close to the dish drainer; we take part in spring clean-up by cutting dead tree limbs with whatever tools we have on hand; we overlook a power line that might have fallen a few feet from its original position. Electricity is nothing to take lightly and knowing the proper work conditions and precautions can make all the difference between a fatality and a safe day at work or home. As a routine practice, it is important to stay on top of safety measures in your home and on the job. Here is an inventory of what to look for before you begin any task:
- Make sure you are using the right tools for the job. That means ladders should be in working order and high enough to reach the designated work areas, and rusted or old tools should always be replaced.
- Check that power outlets are not overloaded with several cords. Many of us are at fault when we set up our home entertainment systems or home computer stations. Overloading the outlets and having exposed cords adds to the danger or probability of an electrical hazard.
- Use extension cords temporarily, at best, and check their appropriateness for indoor or outdoor outlets and conditions.
- Wear protective eye gear, gloves and other clothing, preferably from a line that is regulated by a company who provides protection according to safety standards.
- Recognize and avoid unsafe conditions by making sure the maximum distances are acknowledged before working on any energized conductors.
- Maintain the proper use of portable electric generators, safety belts and lanyards so they are not balanced or caught on any parts of the equipment that might be sticking out.
- Inspect areas before beginning work, such as tree trimming areas, to ensure there are no phone lines that may be encountered.
- Invest in proper and current training and daily inspection of jobsites to identify any potential hazards.
- Inform the utility company when motorized equipment is to be used near a job site; they may be able to de-energize and ground the power lines before work starts.
- Never operate electrical equipment next to a body of water, and make sure that water is not around a downed power line. What you do see a downed power line, report it immediately. If you are in a car and become stuck due to a downed power line near water, do not get out of your car until help arrives.
- Know CPR in case of an accident at home or on the jobsite.
Guidelines and Safety Standards for Prevention of Electrocution and Electricity-Related Accidents at Work and at Home
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has implemented guidelines to assert the prevention of electricity-related accidents, and offers tips and standards to protect people from injuries or fatalities. They have also established standards of compliance for electricians as a way to protect workers from electrical burns and they require that construction workers do not work near an electrical power circuit unless properly protected. General guidelines and minimum requirements have also been established for the public and for non-construction workers by the National Electrical Code and the National Electrical Safety Code. The National Electrical Code (NEC) is a set of rules which enforces safety inside of buildings. The National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) enforces safety standards on the outsides of buildings like power lines and power transmission. Education and proper training are the best policies when it comes to the knowledge and prevention of potential hazards and dangers of electricity, and these agencies have made it their goal to educate the public and professionals who encounter electricity on a daily basis.
Legal Issues and Assistance for Electrocution and Electricity-Related Accidents at Work and at Home
When an accident involving electricity results in severe injury, disfigurement or death, the process can be frustrating, lengthy and overwhelming. Your time to file a lawsuit in this type of case could be determined by state or federal statutes, and could result in a strict timeline by which to have all the elements in order. A renowned law firm like the Finz firm team will be able to discuss your situation and begin the appropriate investigation to find the cause of the accident. With the knowledge and resources needed to aggressively pursue this type of case, we will be able to put your mind at ease knowing that your future is in the right hands. Without any obligation, we offer our Free Electrocution and Electricity-Related Accident Injury Case Evaluation form or you can contact us toll free at (855) TOP-FIRM to discuss your matter. An electricity-related accident is a severe matter, and we want to be available to answer any questions you have and help you in your efforts to find closure.