Every year in the United States, workplace electrical incidents result in more than 300 deaths and 3,500 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.
According to OSHA, electrical incidents cause an average of 13 days away from work and nearly one fatality every day. Electrical incidents rank 6th 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.
Electrocution is not the only injury employees can get from electrical hazards. Additional injuries include burns, hearing loss, lacerations and other health issues. 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. Electrical arcs experience negative resistance, which causes the electrical resistance to decrease as the arc temperature increases.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
Arc flash injuries are not counted in the Electrical shock statistics (they are noted under burns), meaning that the true rates are even higher;
2,000 workers are treated in specialized burn trauma centers each year as a result 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, which shows that even trained experts get hurt.
Arc flash training and the use of proper protective equipment is crucial in protecting employees from injury. Training should cover the care and use of PPE, giving the qualified worker the empowerment to make safety decisions. A good rule of thumb for Arc Flash protection is to use PPE that has an arc rating equal to or greater than the calculated incident energy.
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 severe electrical burns can exceed $4 million per person
Work-related injuries can cost businesses well over $30 million in fines, medical costs, litigation, lost business and equipment costs
Electrical incidents are extremely dangerous and costly. Most of these electrical-related fatalities and injuries could be prevented. Building awareness of electrical hazards, educating your employees on best practices and providing the proper protective equipment are all steps you can take to help reduce these staggering statistics.
Schedule a consultation with an Arbill Safety Expert today. Our experts 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.
Have a Safe Day!