How common are workplace electrical safety violations that cause injuries and death? Violations of electrical safety standards are some of the most common causes for an OSHA investigation. In 2016, OSHA recorded 1,937 violations of electrical wiring methods (Standard 1910.305) and 1,704 violations of general electrical requirements (Standard 1910.303). Violations of these standards place workers at considerable risk of electrocution in the workplace.
Violations of electrical wiring methods that were most commonly cited included 338 violations of improper substitute of flexible cords and cables for fixed wiring and 302 violations of the use of these same flexible cords and cables on the worksite. These cables and cords can be easily damaged enabling workers to accidentally come into direct contact with live electricity while working. OSHA also issued citations for 314 violations for improperly closed electrical openings, 250 citations for cover and canopy violations, and 76 violations for conductors that were not properly protected from abrasion or opening. While the total number of violations decreased from 2,624 violations in 2015, violations of electrical wiring methods are still some of the most common in the workplace.
OSHA investigations also uncovered significant numbers of violations of general electrical requirements. Violations of installation and use accounted for 446 citations, while failure to guard live wires and components resulted in 169 citations. Other violations included 168 violations for inadequate working space, 166 violations for insufficient spacing around electrical equipment, and 149 violations for services, feeders, and branch circuits. In total, there were 1,704 violations which was a measurable decrease from the 2,181 violations recorded in 2015.
OSHA investigations show that workers in every industry are at risk of suffering an electrocution event. Data gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2004-2010, 247 construction workers suffered 57% of the total recorded number of fatalities. These were followed by 99 service industry workers which accounted for 23% of fatalities, and 44 workers engaged in manufacturing which accounted for 10% of fatalities. A further 10% of the total recorded number of fatalities were involved in other professions.
Even when electrical injuries don't cause a fatality, they can cause serious and sometimes permanent damage to the body. This can include severe burns of skin, muscle tissue, and organs. Electrocution can also cause heart attacks and permanent damage to neurological functions. The more severe the injury, the greater the impact it will have on your health and your ability to continue working. This is why it is crucial to thoroughly review the information within the OSHA investigation that documents the causes of an electrical injury as well as medical records and other documentation showing the impact the injury has had on your ability to continue to perform your job.
Brad Pistotnik Law represents workers who have been electrocuted on the job. When an OSHA investigation shows violations of safety standards in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska and Illinois and other states that put employees at risk, we do everything we can to ensure they are held accountable for their actions. We can represent you if you have been injured in a workplace accident in Wichita, Kearney, Kansas City, Decatur, Salina, Newton, Augusta, Hugoton, Winfield, or anywhere in Kansas and other states where we practice.
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