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Electrocution Incidents Represent an Incredibly Serious and Common Variety of Construction Accident in California and BeyondElectrocution incidents represent an incredibly serious and common variety of construction accidents in california and beyond. More than 1,100 construction workers lost their lives on the job in 2019. Nearly one in 10 of those died as a result of electrocutions. Too often, these deaths are preventable, as the desire to meet deadlines and other pressures lead those in charge to prioritize other goals over safety, and workers pay the price, sometimes with their lives. If that has happened to your loved one, there may be parties involved in the project who were negligent and liable for what happened. Don't delay in reaching out to an experienced San Mateo construction accident attorney to discuss your rights and legal options.
Causes of Deadly Occupational Saftey and Health Administration
According to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the four most common causes of deadly accidents at construction jobs -- colloquially known as the Fatal Four -- combine to make up more than half (57%) of all construction deaths. The top two are causes you perhaps can guess: worker falls (36%) and workers hit by objects (10%). Just barely behind "struck by an object" is number three -- electrocutions -- at 9%.
That one you may not have guessed, but construction workers in California and elsewhere -- including right here in the Bay Area -- face a number of possible electrical current-related dangers every workday. These risks include wet conditions near exposed wires/outlets, improper use of extension cords, contacting overhead power lines, and more.
As Palo Alto Online reported, one Bay Area community continues to deal with the fallout of a fatal electrocution accident there. In 2019, D.O., who worked for Palo Alto Utilities, was part of a crew tasked with replacing two transformers. D.O., who was wearing leather gloves, contacted high-voltage lines with a grip tool. As neither the tool nor the worker's gloves were insulated, an electrical arc formed, instantly electrocuting the worker.
California Department of Industrial Relations
The California Department of Industrial Relations investigated and issued the City of Palo Alto eight citations for safety violations. These included allowing unqualified workers to work on high-voltage systems, failing to ensure that a qualified observer was observing the work, failing to require that workers use only proper insulated-handle tools, and failing to provide workers with proper safety gear (such as "suitable and flame resistant apparel,") among others, according to the report.
The problem isn't unique to Northern California or utility workers, though. Many times, large pieces of construction equipment like boom lifts or cranes are involved in these kinds of tragedies. Earlier this year, a North Carolina boom life operator died after the cable attached to his lift came close to a power line, and electricity arced from the power line to the lift, fatally electrocuting the operator.
Serious (or Fatal) Construction Accidents and Undocumented Workers
Studies have shown that so-called "day laborers," many of whom are undocumented workers, frequently are assigned the most dangerous tasks at construction sites. If they get hurt, they're sometimes told that they'll be reported to immigration authorities (and potentially deported) if they speak up.
They may also be told that they cannot recover in the American courts because they are undocumented. Be aware that this is untrue. Regardless of your (or your loved one's) immigration status, construction injuries resulting from another person or entity's negligence are things for which you (or your family) can seek and obtain compensation.
Contact A Lawyer
If you've been hurt (or a loved one killed) in an electrocution accident at a construction site, you may have many questions and may feel like you don't know where to turn. People may be pressuring you to sign papers related to your accident. Before you sign anything, get in touch with one of the San Mateo personal injury attorneys at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP. Our helpful attorneys are here to help you seek justice for the harm you endured. Contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.
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