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Incidence of workplace electrical injuries and fatalities

New Jersey workers may be interested to learn about a recent report released by the Electrical Safety Foundation International that reported on 20 years' worth of data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics about workplace electrical accidents between the years of 1992 and 2010. The data demonstrated some positive trends in the occurrence of electrical accidents that injury and death in the United States.

The biggest news the study demonstrated is that there have been significant declines in both workplace fatality and workplace injury electrical accidents, and the most significant decrease occurred between 2006 and 2010. Since 1992, the overall decrease in fatal electrical accidents was 50 percent. Workplace electrical injury accidents decreased even more, declining by 60 percent over the 20-year period. In the 5-year period between 2006 and 2010, fatality accidents decreased by one-third.

The decreases in the overall occurrences of such accidents have been both significant and sustained. The relative percentages of the overall types of accidents have remained stable, however. The most prevalent type of fatality accident, contacting overhead lines, represented 44 percent of all fatal accidents. The second most commonly occurring type, contacting wiring, transformers and electrical components, accounted for 27 percent while the third most common, contacting light fixtures, appliances, machines and tools, remained stable at 17 percent of all fatal accidents.

Employers have a duty to protect their employees from hazards, thereby reducing the risk that the workers will be injured in a serious workplace accident. While the study's numbers show very positive trends, workplace electrical accidents continue to occur, injuring many workers each year. People who are seriously injured in workplace accidents may benefit by consulting with a personal injury or workers' compensation attorney about the facts of their individual cases.

Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International, "Electrical Safety Then and Now", November 29, 2014

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