Michael Burgis & Associates, P.C.

Electrical hazards can cause fatal workplace accidents

Employers nationwide, including California, must comply with federal and state safety standards. Sometimes, the most basic safety violations cause fatal workplace accidents, and many of them involve electrical hazards. It is crucial to perform a hazard assessment to identify electrical hazards before starting a work project.

The importance of hazard assessments was underscored by the death of a 61-year-old operator of a dump truck who was electrocuted. Reportedly, the incident happened in another state when the man raised the truck's bed to dump crushed rock into a sinkhole. The tipped bed of the truck made contact with high-voltage overhead power lines. When the operator noticed that the electricity set a rear tire on fire, he attempted to get out of the truck.

The human body is a conductor of electricity, and the charge went through his hand that was holding onto the truck and exited through his feet that were on the ground. Co-workers tried to save his life by dousing the flames with fire extinguishers, but they could not save the man. This work tragedy might have been a case of complacency, which often creeps in when workers have done the same job for many years without incident.

Reportedly, this was a small business with only two employees who relied on their years of experience to stay safe. California workers are entitled to safe work environments, in which employee safety is prioritized. However, even then, workplace accidents still happen. Fortunately, the California workers' compensation insurance program typically has the backs of injured workers, and also the surviving family members of those who lose loved ones in work-related incidents. An experienced workers' comp attorney can provide valuable support and guidance throughout the benefits claims process.

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