Electricity is a serious workplace hazard that affects not only electricians, but other workers who come in contact with powered materials on a regular basis. Machinery, tools, light bulbs and home fixtures are all examples of common workplace items that contain electricity and the risk of shock that comes along with it.
In Ohio, you are entitled to compensation for injuries that occur because of electricity. Although most claims are, by law, handled within the workers’ compensation scheme, in some cases you can sue for additional damages.
Electrocution Versus Electric Shock
It is common to confuse the terms “electrocution” and “electric shock.”
- Electric shock is a jolt of electricity into the body, and it may cause burns, nerve injury, muscle depolarization and other bodily harm.
- The term “electrocution,” however, is usually reserved for a fatal injury caused by electric shock. By one estimate, 97 percent of electricians experience electric shock at some point on the job.
Causes of Electric Shock Injury
Electric shock may happen as the result of direct contact with exposed wiring or “hot” machinery with an active electrical current. The shock may result in cardiac arrest, thermal burns on the skin or internal damage because of electricity’s transit through the body. Electrical shock is always serious, and its full effects are not always obvious.
In order to prevent electric shock injury on the job, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has put in place specific procedures and apparel guidelines. For example, machines must be turned off before servicing and workers must wear specific gloves before touching such pieces of equipment.
Who Is Responsible for Workplace Electric Shock Injury?
Ultimately, it is the employer’s responsibility to make sure safety protocols are strictly adhered to and that no one is injured while on the job. If you or a loved one experiences an electricity accident at the workplace, report the injury immediately and follow your employer’s internal procedures.
You may be able to file a lawsuit outside of the workers’ compensation scheme if your employer acted in an egregious manner, the safety equipment or machinery that caused your injury was defective, or if your coworker contributed to your electric shock.
Take notes about the details of what happened the day of the accident, including any evidence equipment malfunctioned or that your employer was not complying with safety regulations. This information is important for when you consult with a workplace injury lawyer.
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