Construction electrocutions in New York City and around the country continue to be an issue. It has been reported that electrocution sits sixth on the list of fatal work place accidents around the country and the number is slowly rising.
One of the most concerning things about the rise in construction electrocutions is that it is one of those workplace hazards that can affect anyone at any time, including pedestrians as they pass by the work site. With questions lingering about this growing problem, construction experts are looking for answers that will work.
Are The Electrocution Safety Guides Being Understood?
One of the elements of this problem is something that many people do not discuss, and that is an unintentional disregard for safety guidelines. According to Boston.com, a large portion of the New York City construction industry is made up of foreign laborers who do not speak English. These are not workers who are knowingly ignoring the safety guidelines; they are workers who simply do not know what the guidelines are.
The other issue is pedestrians and other non-construction personnel who pass by the job site as work that can lead to an electrocution is taking place. These are not people who are required to know the work site safety guidelines, so they do not know how to recognize or react to the possibility of danger that may lie ahead. As long as pedestrians abide by the signs posted around the exterior of the work site regarding safety, they are doing their part to avoid an accident. But when an unexpected event happens, innocent people can get caught up in tragic construction accidents.
The Most Common Electrocution Events
While electrocutions rank sixth throughout the entire work world in work place deaths, it is second in the construction industry only to falls. One of the reasons that electrocutions are so prominent in construction is the availability of electrocution situations. Large construction vehicles such as trucks and cranes tend to cause the most electrocution events because they come into contact with overhead wires. Overhead power lines make up 56 percent of all elements of electrocution, which is more than twice the amount of electrocutions caused by electrical equipment.
Other common electrocution events are when unqualified people are allowed to work on electrical wiring, and when people do not follow safety guidelines and leave live wires where others can come into contact with them.
Who is Getting Electrocuted?
According to the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health, 34 percent of all electrocutions on a construction site involve electricians or electrical staff workers. Laborers are second with 16
percent of the accidental electrocutions, and carpenters come in third at six percent. It is interesting to note that apprentices and entry level workers in various trades make up an amazing 35 percent of all construction electrocution accidents. When it comes to electrocutions, it truly can happen to anyone on a construction site.
Electricity is one of the most dangerous hazards that construction workers cannot see. Even though an area of a construction site may be fenced off as a staging area for equipment, you can still find a live wire in that area that could cause serious damage. It is also important to note that a live wire is not going to necessary appear any different than what is called a “dead conductor” which means it is all the more harder to avoid danger. If a construction worker comes into contact with electrical currents is most likely going to result in shocks and electrical burns and in the worst case scenario, death if there is too much electrical energy.
Working To Find A Solution To The Problem
All construction companies have safety policies in place to help protect workers from electrocutions, but it can be difficult to get those policies in place in New York City when many of the workers do not speak English.
The Department of Buildings is working with the city to solve this problem, and the hope is that the number of electrocution accidents can be reduced until a solution can be found.