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If you work construction in Kentucky, no one need tell you that your various construction sites are full of electrical tools, equipment and machinery. But did you know that the 15-20 amperes of electricity carried through most 120-volt circuits represents 15,000 times more than the 50-100 milliamperes needed to kill you? And the 220-volt and higher lines and circuits around which you work are even more lethal.

ConstructionConnect.com cautions that not surprisingly, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ranks electrocutions as number two on its “Fatal Four” list of construction death causes. The following represents the full list:

  1. Falls
  2. Electrocutions
  3. Struck-by-object accidents
  4. Caught-in-between-object accidents

Electrocution statistics

Unfortunately, electrocutions account for more than half of the nationwide construction fatalities each year, 61% to be precise. If you are a man between 35-44, your risk increases substantially since 28.3% of fatal construction electrocutions happen to men in this age bracket.

Surprisingly, while electricians themselves account for 19% of the fatal construction electrocutions, laborers account for 25%.

Electrocution causes

Naturally, many electrocution dangers lurk around any given construction site, so the causes of one are quite varied. Nevertheless, 75% of fatal construction site electrocutions occur because the worker comes into contact with something such as an overhead power line, a converter or a transformer. Other causes include the following:

  • Frayed or otherwise damaged electrical cords
  • Ungrounded electrical wires
  • Improperly plugged in extension cords, such a 3-prong cord plugged into a 2-prong socket
  • Improperly maintained electrical equipment
  • Improperly plugged in space heaters
  • Poorly lighted sites that let you trip over a wire or otherwise accidentally contact electrical equipment or machinery

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.