Electrical accidents do not truly happen by accident, except perhaps on the rarest of occasions. Generally speaking, electrical incidents at the workplace are preventable, provided the employer has properly invested in safety equipment. Electricity is dangerous and sources of electricity must always be treated with the utmost respect, and there are many steps both the individual and the employer can take to demonstrate that respect.
For the individual worker, electrical safety begins with the assumption that all electrical outlets and electrical lines are “hot” and carrying a current. Workers should not assume that just because a line should be turned off, it is. There is always the chance a line has been activated, either by accident or due to error.
For the company, electrical safety begins with identifying how to properly shield and ground electricity. Electrical wires should be shielded from accidental contact, and all electrical lines should be properly grounded. Circuit interrupters should be in place so that, even if an electrocution occurs, the duration and intensity is minimized as best as possible.
Unfortunately, electrical safety costs money. Running bare wire is cheaper than properly insulating and guarding it. Circuit interrupters cost money, and grounding electrical currents takes additional time. Though these protective measures are simple and well-known, businesses cut corners all the time, not recognizing that by doing so, they are damaging their relationship with their employees and their bottom line.
Long-term, proper safety protocols often save time and money in addition to being the right thing to do. Workers in a safe environment are more productive than those who must constantly wonder whether or not the next line they touch could put their life and safety at risk. By creating a positive work culture, companies are more successful in the long run.
If you or someone you love has suffered an electrical injury in the workplace, it is important to remember that these incidents are almost always preventable. Please consult with an experienced attorney regarding your case, and hold the company responsible for not taking workplace safety seriously enough.