Electrical incidents in the workplace result in more than 3,500 injuries per year in the United States. Approximately one-third of those are fatal injuries. While electrical hazards are not the leading cause of on-the-job injuries and fatalities, they are disproportionately fatal and costly with 1 in 13 electrical injuries resulting in death.
Electrical incidents cause an average of 2 weeks absence from the workplace, costing you time and money, not to mention workers compensation claims filed by the injured employee. Electrical incidents rank in the top 10 among all causes of work related deaths in the U.S. Over the past decade, 46,000 workers were injured from on the job electrical hazards and a worker is severely hurt every 30 minutes from electricity.
Those are staggering statistics.
When talking about electrical injuries, most people assume electrocution but that is just one of the causes of on the job injuries. Burns, hearing loss, lacerations and other health issues are also an enormous risk for those who work as electricians. An especially dangerous event is what’s called an Arc Flash. An arc flash is the light and heat produced by an electric arc supplied with sufficient electrical energy to cause substantial damage, harm, fire, or injury. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- Arc flash injuries are not counted in the Electrical shock statistics. They fall under the “burn” category, which means the statistic for the “shock” category is much higher.
- 2,000 workers are treated in specialized burn trauma centers each year because of arc flash injuries.
- Arc flash injuries accounted for 77% of all recorded electrical injuries in 2014
- About 80% of electrically related incidents and fatalities involving “qualified workers” are caused by arc flash/blast. This means even the most well-trained experts still run the risk of injury.
Electrical incidents cost employers millions every year in equipment, litigation and medical costs associated with electrical hazards. The monetary cost can easily exceed $1 million including the costs of equipment replacement, downtime and insurance. Medical costs for these severe burns can total into the millions, not to mention litigation, lost business and replacement equipment costs.
Fortunately, most of these electrical-related fatalities and injuries can be prevented. Building awareness of electrical hazards, educating your employees on best practices and providing the correct PPE for the job are all steps you can take to help reduce these staggering statistics.
Our experts at Safety Consulting and Compliance will work with you to determine the hazards that may exist in your workplace and will develop a comprehensive plan to properly train and protect your employees from electrical hazards. Let’s not meet “by accident”. Give us a call today.