Electrocutions Can Cause Serious Injuries

Electrocutions Can Cause Serious InjuriesElectrocution accidents pose significant risks that extend beyond burns. The construction industry, with its heavy reliance on electrical equipment and power tools, is inherently susceptible to incidents involving electrical contact. These accidents can result from various factors, including faulty wiring, exposed electrical components, and unsafe work practices.

The consequences of electrocution can lead not only to electrical burns of varying sorts, but can also impact the nervous system, internal organs, and potentially lead to falls or other secondary injuries. Understanding the multifaceted nature of electrocution hazards is crucial for implementing comprehensive safety measures in construction environments and minimizing the potential injuries associated with electrical incidents for both workers and bystanders alike.

What are the causes of electrocution?

Electrocution hazards are particularly prevalent on construction sites, posing significant risks to workers and passersby alike. Construction workers often deal with electrical tools, wiring, and equipment, increasing the likelihood of accidental contact with live electrical sources. Common causes of electrocution on construction sites include faulty wiring, inadequate grounding, damaged electrical tools, and unsafe work practices. Accidents can occur during tasks such as installing electrical systems, handling power tools, or working near overhead power lines. The severity of electrocution injuries can range from minor shocks to fatal incidents, depending on factors like voltage, duration of exposure, and the pathway of the electrical current through the body.

Electrocution hazards on construction sites extend beyond the workers themselves, posing dangers to passersby as well. Since construction sites have so many sources of electricity around them, from their tools to the projects they are working on, there is an increased risk of accidental electrical contact. To ensure the safety of passersby, construction sites must implement effective hazard mitigation strategies, including clear signage, barricades, and safety barriers to keep non-workers at a safe distance from potential electrocution risks.

If a worker or bystander is injured due to a failure to follow safety procedures, or if an employer fails to provide protective gear for San Antonio workers, a personal injury lawsuit is a good step toward securing just compensation for injuries sustained from another party’s negligence.

What types of injuries can electric shock cause?

Electric shocks can lead to a variety of injuries, depending on factors like the voltage, current, duration of exposure, and the pathway the electricity takes through the body. On construction sites, injuries may vary from minor burns to severe brain trauma, all due to an electrocution accident.

Common injuries from electric shock accidents include:

  • Burns: Electrical burns are one of the primary injuries. The heat generated by the electric current can cause damage to the skin and underlying tissues. The severity of burns can range from superficial to deep tissue burns.
    • Arc burns. Arc burns are injuries caused by the intense heat and light generated during an electrical arc event. These burns result from the explosive release of energy when an electric current jumps from one conductor to another. The high temperatures produced in an arc flash can cause severe burns to the skin and underlying tissues. Arc flash burns are particularly hazardous in industrial settings where electrical equipment is prevalent. The severity of the burns depends on factors such as the duration of exposure, proximity to the arc, and the amount of energy released.
    • Flash burns: Also known as ‘welder’s flash’ or ‘arc eye,’ is a painful inflammation of the cornea, the clear front tissue of the eye, caused by exposure to bright ultraviolet (UV) light. Welding torches are a common source of such burns. Flash burns can affect both eyes. The cornea typically heals within one to two days, usually without scarring. However, untreated flash burns can lead to infections, potentially resulting in vision loss. Seeking prompt medical attention is crucial to prevent complications and ensure proper healing.
    • Internal burns: Electric currents passing through the body can generate heat internally, potentially causing damage to muscles and organs. Internal burns may not be immediately visible, making them more challenging to diagnose without medical evaluation.
  • Muscle and tissue damage: The flow of electricity through the body can cause damage to muscles and other soft tissues. When exposed to electric shock, the flow of electrons through the body can lead to tissue damage and interfere with essential electrical signals, particularly those regulating the heart’s function. The intense heat generated during an electrical arc or direct contact with high-voltage sources can cause severe burns to the skin and underlying tissues. Additionally, the electric shock may induce tetanic contraction, making it impossible for a person to release the current source, further exacerbating muscle damage. The extent of muscle and tissue damage depends on factors such as the amperage, voltage, and duration of exposure. Immediate medical attention is crucial to assess and treat the injuries, as complications such as infections and long-term damage may arise if left untreated. Symptoms of muscle and tissue damage include pain, swelling, and in severe cases, muscle necrosis (death).
  • Nervous system injuries: Electric shocks can disrupt the normal functioning of the nervous system. Electrocution can significantly impact the nervous system by interfering with essential electrical signals that regulate various bodily functions. When exposed to electric shock, the flow of electrons through the body can disrupt the normal functioning of nerves. The nervous system, responsible for transmitting signals throughout the body, can be adversely affected, potentially causing sensory disturbances, loss of motor control, and, in severe cases, affecting vital functions like heartbeat and breathing. Immediate medical attention is crucial to assess and address any neurological implications of electrocution, as prompt intervention can mitigate potential long-term damage to the nervous system. Symptoms of nervous system damage from electrical shock include numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and in extreme cases, paralysis.
  • Cardiac injuries: As we’ve mentioned, electric shock can profoundly affect the heart by disrupting its normal electrical activity. When exposed to an electric shock, especially from AC, the electrical impulses that regulate the heartbeat can be disturbed. The fluctuating voltage in AC can interfere with the natural rhythm of the heart, potentially causing it to flutter or beat irregularly. This irregular heartbeat, known as arrhythmia, can be life-threatening if not promptly addressed. In severe cases, electric shock may lead to cardiac arrest, where the heart stops beating altogether. Immediate medical attention is crucial in such situations to restore the heart’s normal rhythm and prevent further complications. The impact on the heart highlights the importance of treating electric shock as a serious medical emergency.
  • Respiratory issues: Electric shock can impact the respiratory system through various mechanisms, and the severity of the effects depends on factors such as the magnitude and duration of the shock. In some cases, electric shock can lead to respiratory muscle paralysis, making it difficult or impossible for the affected person to breathe effectively. Additionally, the shock may cause damage to the nerves that control breathing, further compromising respiratory function. Electric shock may trigger systemic effects, such as a surge of stress hormones, which can indirectly impact the respiratory system. In any case of electric shock, particularly if there are signs of respiratory distress, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial to assess and address potential respiratory complications.
  • Internal organ damage: Electrocution poses a risk of causing internal organ damage through a combination of factors that we have already covered, including thermal effects, muscle contractions, nervous system interference, systemic responses, and potential secondary injuries. The heat generated during an electric shock can lead to burns and harm internal tissues. Strong muscle contractions induced by the shock may impact organs, especially the heart and respiratory system. Interference with the nervous system’s normal functioning can disrupt organ signals. Systemic responses, such as the release of stress hormones, may affect multiple organs. Additionally, secondary injuries during the incident can independently cause harm to internal organs. Given the variability in severity, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial to assess and address any potential internal organ damage. A severe enough electric shock can lead to issues such as kidney damage, gastrointestinal problems, or liver damage.
  • Injuries from falls: Falls resulting from electrocution incidents are common especially on construction sites, and can lead to a range of injuries, varying in severity. Common injuries include bone fractures, sprains, and contusions sustained during the fall itself, which can lead to further injuries and complications. Additionally, the force of the electrical shock and subsequent muscle contractions may contribute to injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, concussions, or spinal injuries if the fall involves impacting the head or neck. Depending on the height of the fall, fractures of the limbs or spine are possible. It’s essential to recognize that the combined impact of electrocution and falls can result in complex injuries that may involve multiple body systems.

In the event of an electric shock, taking immediate actions is crucial. If you’ve been severely shocked, call 911 or local emergency services; if you cannot call, seek assistance from someone nearby. Avoid unnecessary movement unless it’s essential to distance yourself from the electric source. For shocks that feel minor, seek medical attention promptly, even in the absence of noticeable symptoms, as internal injuries may not be immediately apparent. While awaiting medical assistance, cover any burns with sterile gauze, refraining from using adhesive bandages or materials that could adhere to the burn.

Electric shock injuries are nothing to underestimate, and the effects of an electrocution accident are dangerous, sometimes even proving to be fatal. When you are electrocuted on a construction site due to negligence by the employer, whether because they failed to provide you with the proper protective equipment or they neglected to keep the environment safe from electrical dangers, the very least you deserve is compensation for the injuries you suffered, and the treatment you may need going forward. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced San Antonio personal injury attorney at Pat Maloney: Accident & Injury Attorney, call us or use our contact form.