Power line workers face significant risk of seriously injury while on the job. Fortunately, injured power line workers are often able to obtain compensation for these injuries. To make sure that adequate compensation is received, workers often find it essential to retain the assistance of skilled legal counsel.
In 2011, there was 700 construction worker fatalities caused by electrocutions. Electrocutions accounted for almost 10% of all construction worker deaths in 2005. Many of these injuries were incurred by power line workers. 26 electrical power-line installers and repairers where killed on the job in 2015. The United States Department of Labor reports that construction site workers experience four times the number of fatal shocks as opposed to workers in any other occupation. Statistics reveal approximately 10 power line installers and repairman are kill every year which makes power line work is one of the top ten most dangerous occupations.
OSHA’s general electrical safety standards are covered in Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1910.302 through 1910.308 — Design Safety Standards for Electrical Systems, and 1910.331 through 1910.335 — Electrical Safety-Related Work Practices Standards.
OSHA’s electrical standards are based on the National Fire Protection Association Standards NFPA 70,National Electric Code, and NFPA 70E, Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces.
Power lines, whether overhead or buried power lines, carry very high voltage. Fatalities caused by electrocutions, falls from great heights and electrical burns are all possible. Workers using ladders, cranes, cherry-pickers and other tools need to exercise extreme caution.
Electricity can jump or “arc” from one location to another. Electricity can arc from a power line to a nearby tree, worker, ladder or tools. Civilians should keep a distance of ten feet when walking near the power lines in their neighborhood. Power line workers will encounter power lines that generate different voltages of electricity. The higher the voltage, the greater the distance the repair/worker needs to keep.
|FPL Power Line Voltages||OSHA Minimum Approach Distance*(OSHA 1926.1408 Table A)|
|0 to 50kV||10 feet|
|Over 50kV to 200kV||15 feet|
|Over 200kV to 350kV||20 feet|
|Over 350kV to 500kV||25 feet|
There are many ways in which power line accidents occur, but some of the most common ways in which workers are injured including the following:
- Accidental contact with power lines that a worker believes are deactivated;
- Digging work that results in contact with power lines;
- Distracted boom truck and crane operators who swing a worker into power lines;
- Falls from great heights while working on a power line;
- Heat exhaustion induced by working conditions and thick protective gear; and
- Stress related injuries from the 75 to 100 lb pounds of equipment that power line workers must carry on a daily basis.
To avoid the chances of injuries and fatalities occurring, power line workers should always follow some recommended advice, which includes the following:
- Avoid distractions that could result in accidentally connecting with a power line;
- Use non-conductive ladders made or wood or fiberglass;
- Maintain a safe distance from energized power lines while performing repairs or working;
- Make sure that power lines are deactivated prior to being used by a power line worker;
- Use adequate protective clothing including adequate safety gloves; and
- A worker should be placed on the ground to monitor the activity of a power line worker who is in the air.
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Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys are able to secure the following benefits for injured workers and their families when workers sustain injuries for accidents that occur within the scope of the workers employment: Partial disability benefits, temporary total disability benefits, permanent and total disability benefits, death benefits, scarring and disfigurement benefits.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a powerline accident, do not hesitate to contact a skilled Boston Work Injury Lawyer. The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan are a group of Massachusetts Work Accident Attorneys with over 35 years of legal experience. Our legal counsel has helped individuals who have been injured in a number of work site accidents including ladder fall accidents. Call our Brockton Workers’ Compensation Lawyer today for a free consultation.
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