When looking at fatal workplace injuries, did you know that electrocutions come in second overall in the construction industry? They are part of the famous "fatal four," and they make up 8.2 percent of the fatal accidents on the job. They barely edge out workers who get struck by objects, at 8.1 percent, though the most common type of fatal accident is a fall, at 39.9 percent.
So, what can workers do to prevent these injuries and fatalities? First of all, they should never work on any live electrical lines. It may sound obvious that workers should shut off the breakers first, but this step is often skipped for minor jobs. It's a hassle and experienced crews sometimes decide they can just do the work live to save the time it would take to shut down the power. This puts everyone in unneeded danger.
On top of that, workers should always double-check any lines with a voltage tester. It only takes a second, but it can save a life. Miscommunication is deadly. If one worker thinks someone else turned off the power and doesn't check or if the other worker simply forgot to do it, a serious accident can take place. Turn the power off first, then check the lines. Every time.
Finally, even when workers take both of the steps outlined above, they should use insulated tools. These can and do keep people alive. Workers sometimes consider it overkill when they know the line is off, but you can never be too safe. There is a reason electrocutions take so many lives annually.
If you do lose a loved one in a workplace accident in California, make sure you know all of your legal options.