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How common are shock injuries in the workplace?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2022 | Work Injuries

extension cord with electricity shooting out from prongs

Workers in nearly all occupations fear an injury that might sideline them for a significant amount of time. Additionally, the combination of lost wages and extensive medical treatment can quickly lead to financial peril for years to come as injured workers accumulate growing debt. Fortunately, workers’ compensation benefits exist to help people avoid this devastation while fighting to get healthy.

Numerous occupations require the use of heavy machinery and industrial tools to perform job tasks. Whether it is warehouse work, factory work or construction work, employees must often handle dangerous currents numerous times over the course of their shift. Common sources of shock injuries include:

  • Frayed wiring
  • Mislabeled cables or junction boxes
  • Malfunctioning machinery
  • Defective power tools
  • Wet surfaces
  • Environmental hazards

Years ago, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported that electrical injuries accounted for nearly 5% of all worker deaths in the period studied. During the study, this equated to one worker death every day from shock injuries or electrocution.

These injuries vary in severity based on several factors, including the path the current takes through the body, the amount of the current that enters the body and the length of time the worker is exposed to the current. Extreme examples of these injuries can lead to a broad range of consequences including extreme pain, respiratory arrest, nerve damage, tissue damage, severe burns and cardiac arrest.

Business owners and area supervisors must ensure that equipment is in proper working order and carries the correct warning labels. Supervisors must train workers on the proper care, storage and maintenance of the machinery. Injured employees should seek workers’ compensation benefits to help avoid financial trouble while healing after a workplace accident.

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