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Of all the causes for on-the-job construction fatalities, electrocution may seem the most avoidable. It’s merely a matter of avoiding live wires, right? However, at approximately 140 U.S. deaths annually, electrocution is the fourth leading cause of construction fatalities in the nation, making it one of OSHA’s “Fatal Four.”
So, why are so many construction fatalities a result of electrocution? Many accidents appear to occur simply because the workers lack basic electrical knowledge, particularly how to remain safe around live overhead power lines. Too often, workers assume the lines have been de-energized when they’re actually still live. Unfortunately, because of the high current that travels through power lines, contact with a live line is generally not survivable. Contact with live wiring or electrical equipment can also be deadly, or with metal objects that have become energized following contact with a live wire.
The good news is that most electrocutions can be avoided. Take the following steps to ensure you remain safe when working around power lines or electrical equipment: