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Should construction workers worry about electrocution?

If you are a Brooklyn construction worker, you have a lot to worry about regarding the safety hazards on your job. With so much heavy equipment with moving parts and workers hurrying to and fro all over the construction site, there is a lot that could go wrong and injure you.

Unfortunately, the risk also includes electrocution on the job. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), electrocutions are one facet of the “Focus Four Hazards” for those working in construction. The other three components are falls, struck-by injuries and caught-in or between crushing hazards.

Those four categories make up the causes of almost 60% of on-the-job deaths in the construction industry. Furthermore, construction workers have nearly four times the risk of electrocution than those who work in all other combined industries.

Certainly, there are ways to reduce the risk of electrocutions to construction workers. Lock-out, tag-out protocols can lower the risk of electrocution for workers who are attempting to repair electrical equipment at work. Posting “High Voltage” signs in the appropriate areas in a language the workers understand is another way to lower the risk of on-the-job electrocution.

But as a New York City construction worker, you could one day report to work on a job site at which you feel particularly vulnerable to electrical threat due to poor site management or other reasons. This is true even though the Center for Construction Research and Training reports that the annual rate and number of construction-related electrocutions are trending down.

If you experience an accident with electricity while on the job, knowing your basic rights to seek compensation will be helpful.