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Tillman & Associates, Attorneys at Law

The importance of electrical safety on the job

According to a report by the Electrical Safety Foundation, electrical hazards cause roughly 4,000 worker injuries and 300 deaths annually. These types of accidents cause workers nationwide, including many in Georgia, to lose an average of 13 workdays per accident for recovery. Electricity cannot be avoided altogether due to its importance in every workplace, but the majority of accidents can be prevented.

The human body itself is an electrical conductor, and if it comes into contact with anything that is electrically charged while also being in contact with an oppositely charged object, it will complete a circuit and cause a current to run through the body. Even electrical charges at very low voltages can cause bruises, bone damage and burns by causing the body to jerk and potentially fall or drop objects. These workplace injuries can be prevented with proper precaution.

In order for companies to prevent these injuries, Occupational Safety and Health Administration-approved workplace policies could be established. These could include implementing safety plans and segmenting those plans out by department and work area. As the workplace grows, updating the safety plan to take into account new equipment and personnel should also be done. It is also important, according to the report, to monitor equipment issues as they arise; routine quality inspections can go a long way toward minimizing and preventing accidents.

If an employer does not have plans in place to protect its employees and a workplace accident occurred as a result, an injured employee may have the option of citing employer negligence as the cause of the injury. In such cases, injured workers may choose to waive their standard workers' compensation benefits, including all medical expense coverage, and instead file a claim in civil court.

Source: Manufacturing.net, "Better On-The-Job Electrical Safety", Christina Chatfield, April 07, 2014

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