5 Things You Should Do After a Workplace Electrical Injury
Posted in Blog on May 3, 2020
What is an Electrical Burn?
Electrical burns are injuries that occur after a person comes in direct contact with electricity. While the extent of these injuries can often vary, from something that simply needs first aid, to an injury that needs medical treatment or even hospitalization, these burns can be very common in the workplace. This can be especially true when it comes to specific, more at-risk industries, where handling electricity and electrical components is commonplace.
How do Electrical Burns Happen?
Although electrical burns can happen at any time, in any workplace, those in construction, roofing, or job roles that work directly with installing electricity are typically most at risk. This can be due to a number of reasons, but mainly because those in these industries are often heavily involved in tasks involving electricity, sometimes even daily.
Electrical burns can come from a number of different sources, including:
- Exposed electrical wires
- Unmarked sources of high voltage
- Exposed outlets
- Defective products
- Water leaks on electrical components
The good news? A vast majority of electrical burns can easily be prevented with extra diligence and sufficient training. For example, ensure you don’t use electrical items near water, that you replace frayed cords, and that any old tools or appliances are replaced immediately when needed, especially if they’re causing sparks or shocks.
What Should You Do if an Electrical Injury Occurs?
If an electrical burn happens to you, there are a number of things that you, those around you, and/or someone you trust should do immediately afterwards:
- Turn off the source of electricity
Often when electrical burns occur, the person on the receiving end may still be attached to the electrical current. This makes it imperative to turn off all sources of electricity near the person, preventing them from receiving continued shocks, and anyone else from being injured while helping. With that being said, everyone in the workplace should have knowledge of all of the varying sources of electricity in the building, and where those sources can be cut in the case of an emergency.
- Move away from the source
Often, electrical burns are caused by sparks or explosions that happen at a specific source. This makes it imperative to move away from whatever caused injury in the first place, helping to prevent further injury to the victim or anyone else. This will give the injured party a chance to be initially examined, and help to be safely called.
- Get medical assistance
When it comes to burns that occur from electricity, signs of injury can often be hidden. While there may be little or no damage shown on the outside, electric currents traveling through one’s body can cause a number of internal issues, including heart arrhythmia’s, tissue degeneration, and muscle damage. This means that being seen by a doctor afterwards is imperative, even if injuries don’t outwardly appear to be severe. By immediately being seen by a medical professional after electrical accidents occur, anyone burnt has the opportunity to be thoroughly examined, and the extent of any injuries can be both determined and treated as quickly as possible.
- Document your injuries as best you can
Again, although injuries are not always plainly visible, they’re often uncovered after a medical examination. With that being said, if there are any visible signs of trauma, take pictures and be sure to secure copies of all medical documents. Should you choose to pursue your legal rights to recoup pain, suffering, or monetary losses from injuries where someone else is at fault, these will be key in helping to support your case.
- Seek the help of a lawyer
When electrical injuries occur at work, it can often be due to insufficient upkeep of electrical sources, negligence, or unkempt working conditions. With that in mind, even if you’re unsure if you have a case, contacting a lawyer is always a good idea (when and if you’re able). Not only will this give you the opportunity to understand if you have a potential case, it can help you to get a full grasp of your rights as an electrical burn victim in the workplace.
Electrical injuries can be a painful event to go through on many fronts, but remember, prevention is key. If you ever feel that your workplace is unsafe or that processes need to be changed, always voice your concerns with your manager or human resources department. You could end up not only saving pain and suffering for yourself, but for your colleagues as well.