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Causes of electrical deaths and injuries among construction workers.
McCann M; Hunting KL; Murawski J; Chowdhury R; Welch L
Am J Ind Med 2003 Apr; 43(4):398-406
Background: Contact with electrical current is the fourth leading cause of deaths of construction workers. This study evaluates electrical deaths and injuries to construction workers. Methods: Two sources of data were analyzed in detail: (1) 1,019 electrical deaths identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) for the years 1992-1998; and (2) 61 electrical injuries identified between November 1, 1990 and December 31, 1998 from a George Washington University Emergency Department injury surveillance database. Results: Contact with "live" electrical wiring, equipment, and light fixtures was the main cause of electrical deaths and injuries among electrical workers, followed by contact with overhead power lines. Among non-electrical workers, contact with overhead power lines was the major cause of death. Other causes included contact with energized metal objects, machinery, power tools, and portable lights. Arc flash or blast caused 31% of electrical injuries among construction workers, but less than 2% of electrical deaths. Conclusion: Adoption of a lockout/tagout standard for construction, and training for nonelectrical workers in basic electrical safety would reduce the risk of electrical deaths and injuries in construction. Further research is needed on ways to prevent electrical deathsand injuries while working "live".
Construction; Construction-equipment; Construction-industry; Construction-materials; Construction-workers; Electrical-workers; Electricity; Electrocutions; Mortality-data; Mortality-rates; Accident-potential; Accident-statistics; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Surveillance-programs; Electrical-equipment; Electrical-hazards; Electric-power-transmission-lines; Power-tools; Emergency-treatment; Training; Safety-education; Safety-practices; Electrical-safety; Work-practices; Author Keywords: construction; electrocution; electrical injury; arc flash; surveillance; lockout/tagout; training
Michael McCann, CIH, 77 Seventh Avenue, #PHG, New York, NY 10011
Cooperative Agreement; Construction
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
NY; MD; DC
Center to Protect Workers' Rights
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division