There are many risks involved in construction. It often involves moving through unfinished buildings, which creates the risk for a fall. There are many moving pieces of machinery, as well as heavy materials, which can cause crushing accidents. However, one of the most dangerous things at a construction site isn't something you can see.
Electricity is a necessary utility when using machinery and power tools to build an edifice. It will also end up installed via wiring into just about every new building constructed. Construction workers have constant potential exposure to electricity. Unfortunately for some of them, that can turn out to be a deadly risk.
Electricity can strike without warning
Chemical spills and machinery may have tell-tale warning signs, such as strong odors, flashing lights or loud noises. Electricity, on the other hand, is invisible and won't make a sound like you hear it make on television. It can move through wiring, water and many construction materials in an instant, causing severe burns or even stopping the heart of anyone in its path. In some cases, electricity can cause fires, which can injure or kill people while also causing massive property damage.
There are countless ways for an electrical accident to happen on a job site. Perhaps a wire gets ripped or frayed during daily work. Maybe something comes into contact with something else that shouldn't touch it, resulting in unsafe conduction of electricity.
Follow safety protocol to keep yourself safe
Thick-soled shoes can provide grounding during minor electrical incidents. Safety gloves and goggles can also help reduce the risk of burns. However, there is no gear that can protect you from each and every risk factor involving electricity. Instead, you will need to ensure that your employer has adequate safety protocols in place.
In general, the people actually installing or working with electricity are the ones at greatest risk on a construction site. They represent about a third of all total electrocution deaths on site. General laborers represent another 16 percent, while carpenters round out the top three risky positions with 6 percent of electrocutions. Other trades involved in the process (excepting those already mentioned, roofers and supervisors) account for another 35 percent of deaths.
Those in the highest risk positions should make sure they know the best way to stay safe at work. Carefully following safety practices and ensuring your co-workers do the same is one way to lower the risk of an electrical accident at your job site. If you don't believe your work site is safe, make sure that you report your concerns to management, so that they can address any obvious risk factors. While injured workers will have the right to seek workers' compensation, avoiding the injury to begin with is a better option.