Fatal Electrical Accidents at Work
Over the five year period from 2012 – 2016, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate that 739 workers suffered fatal injuries as a result of exposure to electricity. Workers in construction and extraction occupations accounted for nearly half (47%) of these deaths, while another 22% of the victims worked in installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.
Electrical hazards are a potential source of injury to workers in a wide array of work settings. Occupations that routinely involve electrical work are the most obvious atrisk populations for electrical injury, but virtually any environment that utilizes electrical equipment – which is to say, most work settings – may involve exposure to hazardous electrical energy, whether due to frayed cords, faulty equipment, missing ground prongs, or some other factor. It is accordingly important for workers across industry and occupational groups to be able to recognize electrical hazards in their work environments and for employers to take appropriate steps to protect employees from electrical injury.
Information about workplace electrical injuries, including injury frequency, types of injury, and other incident details can help shed light on factors contributing to injury, while also serving to focus attention on the electrical injury problem. This report uses workplace injury data to highlight recent trends in injury occurrence in order to focus attention on the problem of workplace electrical injury and to help guide injury prevention efforts.