electrician-imageA Pennsylvania railway worker was electrocuted as he inspected a railroad bridge from a bucket truck in Colesville, N.Y., the Associated Press reported recently. Police said the man came into contact with a power line. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating.

Electrical injuries are among the “fatal four” leading causes of worker deaths in the United States, according to OSHA. Electrocutions, along with falls, being struck by an object, and being caught between objects, are responsible for almost three of five worker deaths each year.

Electrocutions accounted for 9 percent of all worker deaths in 2011, when 69 workers were killed as a result of electricity-related injury. “Controlling hazardous energy” was the fifth most commonly cited safety violation by OSHA that year.

Safety Tips

Unfortunately, workers in the construction industry often come into contact with live electricity. Even brief contact with a high-voltage wire can cause fatal injuries.

OSHA recommends that workers who work near overhead power lines take the following precautions:

  • Look for overhead power lines and buried power line indicators.
  • Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines and assume they are energized.
  • De-energize and ground lines when working near them.
  • Use non-conductive wood or fiberglass ladders when working near power lines.

Employers should take enough precautionary measures to keep their workplace and employees safe from such electrical accidents. These measures can include introducing power system studies within the workforce, having the contact of an electrical engineer who could arrive at the spot in an emergency situation, and periodically checking for any faulty wires or machines that can cause these accidents.

Workers’ Compensation

While no amount of money will bring a loved one back, if a member of your family was fatally injured on the job in Pennsylvania, you may be entitled to survivor benefits through the Worker’s Compensation.

Although the workers’ compensation system is intended to protect injured workers and their families, it can be difficult to navigate. If you have questions or concerns about your legal rights to compensation, contact the Philadelphia workplace injury attorneys at Shor & Levin, the Bulldog Lawyers, at 855-631-5084 or use our online contact form.