Electrical injuries in the workplace are a serious issue and can include burns, neurological injuries, and death by electrocution, just to name a few. New Jersey workers in many different professions can be exposed to electric shock, including construction workers, cable workers, cable installers, electricians, tree trimmers, landscapers, and welders.
Construction sites are the most common environment for electrical injuries because of the high risk of contact with exposed wiring, high voltage power lines or sources, fallen power poles, defective power tools or equipment, frayed cords, and water leaks. Injuries resulting from this exposure can be serious.
Possible Injuries From Electric Shock
- Arc flash or contact burns
- Electrical shock
- Damage to internal organs
- Heart damage or cardiac arrest
- Nerve and muscle damage
- Mental impairment
Electrical Shock Injury to the Heart
A common type of injury from electrical shock is electrical heart injury. Electrical shock has the power to interfere with the heart no matter where the injury occurs on the body. The resulting injury can be an irregular heartbeat or one that is too quick or slow, referred to as cardiac dysrhythmia. Other possible injuries include damage to the heart tissue (necrosis) or inner heart muscle (myocardium). Cardiac arrest can occur in severe cases.
However, most electrical injuries are not actually caused by shock, but by burns from the high temperatures of the current. There are two main types of burns that can occur: Contact burns and Arc flash burns.
Contact Burns Occur Inside the Body
Contact electrical burns occur when the electricity inside the body is converted to heat. Electrical burns are unlike other burns because they often do not look severe on the surface. Even if the skin does not look badly harmed, there could still be significant internal damage. The intensity, resistance, and duration of contact with the the electrical current as well as the type and direction it takes through the body affect the severity of the injury.
Skin is not a good conductor of electricity, and therefore less likely to be damaged by it. Unfortunately, however, internal organs and bones do conduct electricity and are very likely to be damaged. In other words, electrical shock travels through the body without leaving much sign at the entry or exit points.
Arc Flash Burns
Arc Flash Burns are the other type of burn and occur outside the body. An arc is the term for an electrical current that jumps between two different points because of gaps in insulation. Unlike contact burns, arc flash burns does not send electricity traveling through the body.
Arc flashes can reach 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can ignite clothing and cause fires. Injuries resulting from arc flashes include surface burns and external injuries, as well injuries resulting from the possible fires.
Electrical Accidents and Mistakes Happen At Work
Electricians should be highly trained to work with the dangers of electricity and high voltage. Knowledge of how everything works and specific safety measures are very important in this field. However, it’s important to remember that mistakes and accidents still happen.
The construction site is often hectic with activity because of an array of different contractors and managers working at the same time. Add into that equation the presence of customers or pedestrians or co-workers acting carelessly and even the most attentive electrical workers can certainly be at risk of injury.
If you have suffered and electricity-related injury at work, you deserve to receive compensation. Don’t accept your injury as “just another part of the job” and move on. Even if the incident seems minor or does not result in a serious surface injury, remember that it could cause issues down the line. Since electrical current travels through the body, it can affect internal organs in ways that is not immediately apparent while leaving skin relatively unharmed. For this reason, it is important to report all accidents and incidents to a supervisor when they occur.
Electrical Injury Victims Should Seek a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
A skilled lawyer is an important part of any workers’ compensation case. If you are recovering from an electrical injury, you should make your health the priority. Allow the lawyer to focus on filing necessary paperwork, gathering evidence, contacting witnesses, and developing a case. They will take care of the workers’ compensation details while you make a healthy recovery.
An experienced lawyer will also have plenty of knowledge and experience working with employer insurance companies. Insurance companies can be tricky and may try to discredit your case or offer less benefit amount than is really deserved. Your lawyer will recognize these tactics and know the best course of action. This can be especially important if your injury from electrical shock had a delayed onset or intensified at a later date. Proof that the injury is related to the work incident may need to be presented.
Find a New Jersey Lawyer Today
If you want someone on your side who will work hard on your behalf, contact The Hayes Firm to find a New Jersey lawyer today. The Hayes Firm is led by Bill Hayes, a lawyer that has spent over thirty years building a network of skilled workers’ compensation attorneys across the state. We will review your case completely free of charge and determine whether legal action is necessary. If we feel your case could benefit from a lawyer, we will recommend an experienced, local attorney to you, again completely free of charge. Contact The Hayes Firm today and take the first step in receiving the compensation you deserve.
*”Copper cable 5G16″ by Dmitry G – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Copper_cable_5G16.JPG#/media/File:Copper_cable_5G16.JPG