Electric shock is one of the most common causes of injuries to workers on New York construction job sites, with electrical accidents ranking right up there with welding accidents in the number of injuries. The greatest of these risks, according to top New York construction accident lawyer Howard Raphaelson, is coming in contact with higher voltages. “But all ranges of voltage,” Raphaelson said, “can cause serious injury, even death, depending on the circumstances. Even something as simple as a torch battery can ignite flammable substances and inflict serious harm.”
According to Raphaelson, electrical current as low as 50 volts, when it comes in contact with two parts of the body at the same time, can block electrical signals between the brain and the muscles, with sometimes tragic results such as stopping the heart from beating properly, preventing a person from breathing and muscle spasms.
Raphaelson said both AC and DC current used in electrical supplies could cause electric shock, electrical burns, and loss of muscle control. The severity of the injury an electrical accident inflicts depends on the power of the voltage, which parts of the body are affected, how wet/damp the person is and the length of time the current flows through the person’s body.
Surprisingly, even what seems like benign electric shocks from static electricity — which most everyone has experienced at one time or another doing such mundane things as getting out of a car or walking across a fabric carpet — could pump a charge of as much as 10,000 volts through a person “The difference in these instances,” Raphaelson said, “is that the current flows for such a short time there is no danger of injury to a person.”
However,” he added, “static electricity in the workplace, like torch batteries, can cause a fire, or an explosion, when the charge happens in an explosive environment like a paint spray booth, a fuel tank, in sumps, or many places where aerosols, vapors, mists, gases, or dust exist.”
Raphaelson explained that burns, perhaps the most common of all electrical injuries in the workplace, are caused when sufficient current passes through the body and heats the tissue along the length of the current flow. They’re a very common type of construction accident lawsuit.
“Deep burns can require major surgery to correct,” he said. And, the injuries from burns can be permanently disabling.
“As with most electric shock injuries in general,” he added, “electrical burns are more common when higher voltages are being used and may be caused by workplace electricity supplies if the current flows through the body for more than a few fractions of a second.
Electric shock often causes painful muscle spasms that can be strong enough to break bones or dislocate joints. Making matters worse, electric shock can cause loss of muscle control rendering a worker unable to “let go” or escape the electric shock.
Overloaded, faulty, incorrectly maintained, or shorted electrical equipment can get very hot even during normal operation. Workers can receive thermal burns if they get too near hot surfaces, or if they are near an electrical explosion.
If you have been in an electrical accident or have been electrocuted, let Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm fight for you! You can reach us at 212-268-3222.