OSHA to review electrical standards at construction sites

OSHA is aiming to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries connected to electrical accidents by adjusting electrical safety requirements.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more commonly known as OSHA, reports that over 6.5 million workers hold jobs in the construction industry. A variety of hazards are present in this industry, including falls from heights, electric shock and arc flash or blast accidents as well as repetitive motion injuries.

These dangers can lead to a high fatality rate. OSHA is attempting to reduce the rate of fatalities in this industry by revamping safety guidelines. A recent article in The Hill, a top U.S. political website, reports that the agency is taking a closer look at electrical standards on construction sites. According to the article, OSHA is reviewing information in an attempt to reduce the risks associated with electrical hazards.

Movement towards increased safety

This most recent consideration comes on the tails of a rule revision for electric power generation, transmission and distribution which became effective on July 10, 2014. The changes included provisions for how contract employers relay safety information to each other and employees as well as new approach-distance requirements aimed at keeping unprotected workers at a safe distance from energized lines. The changes from this rule alone are projected to result in 20 less fatalities and prevent 118 serious injuries every year.

Electrical safety

OSHA currently recommends a variety of protective measures to help reduce the risk of injury to workers. Some of these measures include:

  • All power must be shut off prior to working on new and existing energized electrical circuits.
  • Electrical cords that are torn, damaged or frayed must be replaced promptly.
  • Extension cords must have grounding prongs.
  • All overhead electrical power lines should be located and identified.
  • The use of multiple plug adapters is prohibited.

Violation of these measures could lead to injury or death.

Remedies available

Whether suffering from an electricity related injury or other accident, workers who are injured while on the job are likely eligible to receive compensation through the workers' compensation program. If the injury is the result of a willful violation of OSHA standards, additional compensation may be available.

Navigating through the workers' compensation claims process and determining whether additional benefits could be available can be a complex and arduous process. As a result, those who are injured are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced workers' compensation attorney. This legal professional can review your case and help better ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.

Keywords: workplace accident workers' compensation