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Workers' compensation: The severe hazards posed by electricity

Safety authorities recently reminded business owners nationwide, including in California, of the hazards posed by electricity. The National Institute of Safety and Health urged employers to respect electricity and never to start a project before assessing the job site and identifying potential electrical hazards. All employees must receive training in recognizing associated dangers and the appropriate methods for dealing with them.  Furthermore, employees must also be informed of the requirements and procedures for filing a workers' compensation claim in the event of an injury.

Workers may not realize that their bodies use internal electricity to control muscle movements via the nervous system. When an electric shock interferes with natural energy, violent muscle contractions can occur -- so much so that they could fracture bones and even prevent a victim from breathing. If the electrical current travels to the head, the worker can become unconscious, and subsequent falls can cause even more harm. Cardiac arrest can follow a current passing through the body close to the heart.

Another significant electrical threat is posed by an arc flash, which consists of heat and light with enough electrical energy to bring about severe harm. It can cause burning and melting of clothes, and severe burns can destroy skin and underlying tissue that might require skin grafts, and it could even lead to amputations. An arc flash blast can be so intense that it could throw workers great distances, often causing concussions, broken bones and internal injuries. Furthermore, the sound of such a flash is loud enough to cause hearing damage.

These are but some of the hazards posed by electricity, and the number of workers' compensation claims that are filed for electricity-related injuries every year probably added to the urgency for authorities to underscore these hazards again. While the ideal might be to eliminate electrical injuries, victims are entitled to benefits to cover medical expenses, lost income and more -- depending on the type and severity of their injuries. An attorney who is experienced in dealing with California workers' compensation claims is there to provide support and guidance.

Source:, "R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Electricity", Tom O'Connor, Accessed on April 13, 2018

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