Electricians are some of the highest-paid professionals but are also prone to specific injuries. Any injury that occurs during the course of a person’s work can make him or her eligible for workers’ compensation if the business is required to have insurance. The following are some of the most common electrician injuries that happen on the job and result in worker’s compensation claims. You will also read some tips on how to avoid such injuries.
Electric shocks are one of the most common electrician injuries that occur when such workers are on the job. They occur primarily during electrical power installation and repairs, and these are some of the reasons such incidents happen:
Failure To Wear Appropriate PPE
Many electrical shocks occur because the electricians fail to wear the proper protective clothing. One should always bring electrical gloves in the commercial vans and wear them. Nonconductive hardhats are also a necessity when working around electrical equipment and wires. An electrician should also wear natural fiber clothing to minimize the penetration should an incident occur. Furthermore, rubber shoes are good for fighting off electrical currents.
Failure to Cut off the Electrical Supply
No electrician should operate around ‘live’ wires. Thus, some accidents occur because workers begin their projects without cutting off the power to the electrical components they fix.
Not Being Mindful of Wet Spots
Water and other liquids can cause a severe electrical shock. Therefore, electricians should never work on electrical components in the rain or near water of any kind.
Accidental Contact With a Conductor
In some cases, electrical companies send workers to places they are unfamiliar with. Such workers may accidentally come into contact with conductors if they fail to take safety precautions before starting a job. Contacting a conductor can cause a pretty severe electrical shock.
Electrical burns are another one of the common electrician injuries that occur when a person performs electrician services. They usually occur from household currents when the electrician either doesn’t use the proper protective gear or touches something live. Electric burns can be very painful and prevent an individual from doing his or her job for a lengthy time period. Immediate doctor’s care is necessary, and an injured party may need to collect workers’ compensation while healing from such an injury.
Thermals are different from electrical burns, and they can also cause first to third-degree burns on the person’s skin. Thermal burns don’t necessarily involve electrical current, however. They occur from touching something hot, such as an electrical appliance. These burns come from hot metal, steam, and actual flames that can arise during an electrical crisis.
Many electricians experience these burns when working with hot items and not wearing thermal gear. For example, an electrician might get a thermal burn working under the hood of a car or underneath a vehicle where hot metal components are. They can also occur during household electrical maintenance tasks. These burns need immediate care and may take several weeks to heal, depending on their intensity level.
Electrocution is another one of the common electrician injuries. It is the most deadly incident, and it happens to commercial electricians. This injury is one that stops the heart and requires assistance from an EMT or medical doctor after someone separates the individual from the current. Electrocutions usually occur when the victim wears or touches a conductor and works with DC current.
DC currents do not alternate; thus, the victim continues to experience electrocution unless another person can do something to separate him or her from the current. Other people can help by turning off the power supply if applicable. Another way to help the person is to try to put a nonconductive fiber rod in the area and disrupt the current. Rescuers must be careful in this situation and not experience electrocution themselves.
If you see someone getting electrocuted, you should not risk your life. You will need to assess the situation to see if it’s safe for you to get close to the victim. Avoid touching the person until all the electricity is turned off. Try doing a couple of the rescue techniques mentioned, but only if they are feasible.
Cuts and Lacerations
Cuts and lacerations are common electrician injuries as well. They occur mostly when professionals work in tight spaces with not much lighting. They can happen while working with electrical wiring, as the raw wiring is often very sharp. Cuts and lacerations can also occur when a person uses electrical cutting tools inappropriately.
These injuries are more likely to happen to emergency electricians or new workers while operating in unfamiliar territory. Small cuts and superficial lacerations usually don’t require workers’ compensation or medical treatment. Severe ones can result in time away from work and the need for an excellent benefit, though.
Hearing loss can occur when there is an electrical explosion. An explosion can happen while working on an electrical panel, or it can occur when working with high sources of electrical current. It’s one of the common electrician injuries that can take the longest to heal. Damage to the ear can result in one or two-sided loss and can hinder the worker’s performance because he or she will have difficulty communicating with other electricians and customers.
A workers’ compensation claim will require an injured person to visit a hearing doctor. The doctor may or may not be associated with that person’s place of employment. That doctor will decide whether the injured electrician can return to work and when it would be best for him or her to do so.
Soft Tissue Damage
Soft tissue damage is yet another one of the common electrician injuries that can occur during the course of that person’s job or work. Soft tissue damage can come from a fall or an inappropriate twist or movement, and it can also occur from repetitive stress on the soft tissues. A soft tissue injury can occur anytime the affected party overextends or over uses certain parts of the body, and healing from such an injury can take months, just like a broken bone can take months to heal.
Falls are one of the common electrician injuries that happen to many people, including commercial building contractors. They happen when workers fall off ladders, scaffolding, and even rooftops. All of these falls usually involve wearing improper footwear, not using the appropriate protective gear, or not looking out for objects that could cause such falls. In some cases, a fall happens because of something careless, such as horseplay.
Fortunately, most workers’ compensation does not involve fault. So, injured workers can still collect the benefit even if they are partially at fault for their own injuries. That may not be the case when drugs or alcohol are involved, however. It depends on the insurance company and the state where the injury occurred.
Head trauma is one of the common electrician injuries that can happen for many reasons. One good reason for head trauma is when a person falls off of a ladder. The individual can easily land on his or her head, causing head trauma. An electrician who is working in a building after a fire must be careful of the surroundings because weak ceiling components can cause the head trauma. Slips and trips can cause head trauma as well.
Trauma to the head can result in a mild concussion in minor cases or brain injuries in the worst. That’s why wearing a hard hat for protection is always advised, no matter where an electrician does work. It’s always better to have protection on the head than not to have it. The day a worker forgets to wear his or her hat could be the day something falls from the ceiling, and that can result in serious injuries and high medical bills. Head injuries can easily qualify for workers’ compensation because the treatment usually involves lots of rest and the avoidance of stress and strain.
Broken bones are on the long list of common electrician injuries. These types of mishaps occur for many different reasons, and these areas some of the most common:
Slips and Falls
Slips and falls can happen for reasons in or out of the electrician’s control. For example, they can occur when the electrician wears the wrong type of shoes. Shoes should have rubber soles, and they should be slip resistant, just in case they walk over something oily or slippery.
Slips can also happen when objects are in the way while the electrician works on a project. That’s why it’s important for an electrician to watch for these objects before starting work. Being mindful of one’s surroundings can prevent many injuries from occurring.
Failing to Wear a Harness
Failing to wear the appropriate harness while working leads to broken bones because of ladder or equipment falls. The harness keeps the electrician where he or she needs to be and is meant to hold them in the air should anything happen. Broken or faulty harnesses leave workers without anything to stop them from falling. Not using a harness at all is an invitation to some broken bones, if the person is lucky enough to only suffer that.
Improper Ladder Safety
Ladder safety is crucial since electricians work on ladders frequently. They must know the correct way to position themselves on a ladder to maximize safety. They must also know how to step off the ladder and avoid getting hurt while they’re getting down.
The employer is supposed to provide safety training for every piece of equipment the electrician will handle, including the ladder. If the employer does not provide such training, they could be at risk of a personal injury case rather than a workers’ compensation case. A personal injury case is one that involves neglect, and some courts view failing to provide safety training as such.
Broken bones can take several months to heal if the patient uses all the recommended self-care instructions. Typically, they take six to eight weeks to heal and get back to their original strong form. It’s highly likely for an electrician with this type of injury to get workers’ compensation if they file the claim in a timely manner and provide all the required documentation.
Workers’ compensation benefits are available to any electrician who gets hurt on the job. As long as the employer has an insurance policy, the worker can receive a weekly benefit and coverage for medical treatment if he or she qualifies.
Workers’ compensation injuries must be reported to one’s supervisor the moment they happen. Then the injured party must visit a job-specified medical specialists to get a report and diagnosis. Once that person receives a diagnosis and a return-to-work date, the insurance company can investigate the claim and approve or deny it.
Now you know some of the most common electrician injuries, why they occur, and how to avoid them. You also know that help is available if you ever get hurt doing an electrical job. Take care of yourself, no matter what job you do, to minimize the risks of experiencing one of those injuries.
Notify your employer if you experience one of these injuries, and be prepared to see a doctor and get examined for an assessment. If you need to see a lawyer, you’ll want to contact a workers compensation lawyer who also handles personal injuries.
A personal injury attorney may be necessary if the insurance company rejects your claim for workers’ compensation. However, the attorney may also find that your case qualifies for personal injury or workers’ compensation because of an element of neglect on the employer’s part. In that case, the best option may be to file for personal injury because you could receive much more money. Be aware that you can not file for both types of compensation. If you choose personal injury, you may have to wait for an extended period for your settlement.