Electrical Injuries on Construction Sites

Electrical Injuries on Construction SitesYou may not think it will happen to you, but electrical injuries can happen in many places. You could accidentally contact live electricity, or perhaps you are a contractor working on a roof or in an attic and there’s some wiring you are not aware of. The injuries electricity can cause can range from anywhere between surface level burns to catastrophic injuries such as 4th degree burns or a heart attack.

In these cases, it’s important to know what to do and how to prevent further electrical injuries in the future. What is even more important is making sure that if you suffered an electrical injury due to someone else’s negligent actions, then you may be eligible for compensation with the help of an experienced St. Louis personal injury lawyer.

Where do electrical hazards occur?

While those who  are the most at risk for electrical injuries, any environment –home or work– can be the site of an electrical injury. This can be due to frayed cords, improper storage of electrical equipment near water, faulty products, or some other situation or factor. You do not even need to be working at a construction site to be injured by an electrical hazard there. Simply walking past such a site can be dangerous enough

Contractors often come in contact with electrical hazards, and many who have died because of an electrical injury were not trained specialists. Many were performing other jobs, like roofing, construction labor, and service work. This shows how important it is to have training in the field if you are going to be doing work with electricity. It’s better to call in a specialist than to try and fix the situation by yourself.

What sorts of injuries can you suffer from electrical hazards?

HydroQuébec discusses electrical safety and the consequences of electric injury:

if a current from outside the body passes through the heart, it can mask these impulses and disturb the heart’s rhythm. This irregular heartbeat is called arrhythmia and can even manifest as a total disorganization of the rhythm, known as ventricular fibrillation. When ventricular fibrillation occurs, the heart stops pumping and the blood stops circulating. The victim rapidly loses consciousness and dies if a healthy heartbeat is not restored with a device called a defibrillator. The arrhythmia can occur at the time of the shock or in the hours following the electric shock.

Burns. While some electrical burns are minor, leaving you merely with reddened skin, currents above 10,000 milliamperes (mA) can leave you with serious burns that may require amputation of the affected limb. Some burns may seem harmless, but be careful: tiny charred craters on your skin indicate the presence of more severe internal burns. It’s not uncommon for electrical burns to affect internal organs. When you are shocked, your body resists the current passing through it, generating heat.

In this case, while your external injury may not look so bad, it could be hiding far more extreme internal injuries. “Internal burns often have serious consequences: scarring, amputation, loss of function, loss of sensation and even death. For example, if a lot of tissue is destroyed, the large amount of waste generated can cause serious kidney or blood circulation disorders.”

Heart attack: If even a current of 50 mA passes through the heart, it can cause cardiac arrest. As the heart is a muscle as well, it is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body.

Per HydroQuébec, the rhythm of our heartbeat is controlled by electric impulses:

if a current from outside the body passes through the heart, it can mask these impulses and disturb the heart’s rhythm. This irregular heartbeat is called arrhythmia and can even manifest as a total disorganization of the rhythm, known as ventricular fibrillation. When ventricular fibrillation occurs, the heart stops pumping and the blood stops circulating. The victim rapidly loses consciousness and dies if a healthy heartbeat is not restored with a device called a defibrillator. The arrhythmia can occur at the time of the shock or in the hours following the electric shock.

Muscle spasms: Electricity stimulates muscles so it would make sense that being electrocuted would have an effect on our muscles. It can often cause the muscles in our fingers, hands, and forearms to seize up and cause a sustained contraction. For instance, if you accidentally grab something that is electrified, you may not even be able to let go of the electrified item as your muscles may have been forced to contract, causing you to hold onto the item even if you wish to let go.

This, unfortunately, can increase the severity of the shock. It is astounding how much electricity can affect your muscles when shocked, possibly causing you to launch yourself feet away. Not only can electricity cause our muscles to contract, but also it can cause tears to form in our muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Nerve and brain damage: The nervous system is possibly the most important part of our bodies; however, they offer very little resistance to electricity passing through the body. If you are shocked, you may feel pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness due to what your nerves are experiencing. Some of these effects may fade away, but some may be life-long. While electricity can affect the nerves, it can also affect the entire central nervous system. A victim of an electrical shock may experience amnesia, seizure, or respiratory arrest. If you suffer from a severe enough shock, you may be left with nerve damage, and possibly psychiatric disorders.

At this point, you may be wondering what you can do after you have experienced an electrical shock. If your electrical injury occurred on someone else’s property, and they had the duty of care to look out for you and your safety (a grocery store, construction site), you may be eligible to file a premises liability claim. If you experienced harm due to someone else’s actions, you may file a personal injury claim.

It is important that you consider these lawsuits because compensation can help to pay for costly hospital bills, and possible therapy and counseling you may need after your injury. At The Hayden Law Firm, we are experienced and knowledgeable, and we will work to ensure you don’t suffer any further than you already have. Schedule a free consultation with a St. Louis personal injury attorney by calling 314-480-3100 or filling out our contact form. We are based in St. Louis, Missouri, but we also proudly serve clients throughout Missouri and Illinois.