Preventing Electrocution: How Construction Firms Can Keep Workers Safe

May 24, 2014

Workers in the construction industry are exposed to an extremely high number of risks while on the job. As a result, their employers are faced with a difficult task – figuring out how to manage the company, improve profits and keep employees safe while on the job. Workers compensation insurance can help with that, as can a comprehensive risk management plan that addresses all of the common hazards that could appear on a site.

One such problem is electrocution. Employees are often near power lines, working in buildings with existing wiring or operating near circuit assemblies. Regardless of where the risk is located, a lack of awareness and preparation could be disastrous for the construction company. Electrocution could result in a serious injury, or the disruption of power lines may halt all operations and lead to costly repairs in order to get everything running once more. Either way, it can be beneficial to plan for such circumstances well in advance, so all potential problems are avoided and every worker is safe on the job.

Electrical risks numerous on construction sites
The construction industry presents such a high number of hazards for several reasons. For one, work sites are versatile, and jobs can take place in many different settings with plenty of unique situations. Workers have to understand where the risks are present, so the proper steps can be taken to avoid complications, accidents or injury.

According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, some of the biggest threats to employee safety on a construction site are power lines. These can either be above ground, and in the way of commercial buildings, scaffolding or crane operators, or below ground, which might pose problems during machine operation, digging or excavating. These lines carry high voltage, so any contact can be dangerous. Electrocution here may even lead to death, and coming in contact with above-ground lines can also result in burns and falls.

In addition, OSHA noted that risks can appear in other areas. For example, a power outage may result in the use of a portable generator. This piece of equipment can become a threat if brought indoors or improperly used. Regular construction equipment can also become dangerous if regular maintenance is neglected. Repeated use can result in frayed wiring, insulation breaks and short-circuits, all potential hazards for nearby workers.

Training, supervision can prevent accidents
Given the high number of hazards on a construction site, workers and managers have to be aware of and prepared to cope with any issue. The topic of electrocution should be included in a risk management plan to better help reduce the potential for increased workers compensation insurance claims.

According to, general measures can be extremely helpful in this regard. For instance, protective eyewear, appropriate gloves and other clothing can reduce the chance of electrical risk. The same goes for guardrails while working on elevated surfaces and clean, tidy work sites so debris doesn’t get in the way of efficient employees.

In addition to these measures, construction companies should also focus on training and supervision. Working with electricity can directly harm staff members, and it can also lead to fires and other problems, the news source noted. Every person who works directly with electricity must have learned the correct safety procedures, and managers need to closely watch over new workers to make sure they are handling themselves in the right manner. An oversight here could be extremely costly.

Overall, a clear, comprehensive approach to electricity risks is ideal for any construction company. With a plan in place, the operations should be able to continue smoothly and employees will be less exposed to dangerous hazards that could result in injury.