What to do if you are electrocuted at work

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Carrie Tennick, March 12, 2020

If you work with electricity – and many professions outside of electricians do – you’ll know how dangerous it can be.

Electric shocks and even electrocutions (death or severe injury as a result of an electric shock) happen all too often in some workplaces.

If it affects you, you might not know what to do – both right away and in the longer term. So we’ve put this guide together to help if you do find yourself suffering an electric shock at work.

Who is at risk?

Although almost everyone is at some risk of an electric shock due to the use of electricity in just about every workplace, there are some workers who are at higher risk.

People who use more electrical equipment than others include:

  • Electricians
  • Electrical maintenance workers
  • Construction site workers
  • Maintenance workers
  • Lighting specialists
  • Theatre and performance venue crew members
  • Office workers

However, anyone who deals with electricity could potentially suffer an electrical shock or even be electrocuted at work.

Electric shock injuries

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), people who receive an electric shock often suffer from “painful muscle spasms that can be strong enough to break bones or dislocate joints”.

As a result, this loss of muscle control often means the person being shocked can’t physically let go, meaning they can’t escape the shock. If they are working at a height, they could fall or be thrown into nearby machinery or structures.

The HSE also explained that a voltage “as low as 50 volts applied between two parts of the human body causes a current to flow that can block the electrical signals between the brain and the muscles”. This can stop the person’s heart beating properly and prevent them breathing properly.

Burns are another common electrical shock injury. When an electrical current passes through a body, it heats the tissue along the current flow. This can result in deep burns. In many cases, these can require surgery and are permanently disabling.

What to do after an electrical shock

When you suffer an electrical shock, the first thing to do is let go of whatever has caused the shock, if you’re able to. If it was a serious shock, you should then call an ambulance or get a colleague to call one for you. It’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible. While waiting for your ambulance, don’t move unless you need to get away from the electrical source.

If it was not a severe shock, you should not neglect medical care, though. Make sure you see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you are not showing any symptoms. These can take a while to appear and you may be suffering from internal injuries.

After you’ve been treated medically, you should take the issue up with your employer. Ensure they have recorded the incident in the accident book. You should also consider who may have been responsible for the accident.

If your employer has shown negligence around electricity, your electric shock could be the result. This includes your employer requesting that you carry out electrical work when you’re not qualified or trained to do so. In some cases, they may have knowingly neglected to carry out maintenance work before asking you to do some electrical work. They may also have not provided you with the appropriate protective equipment.

When negligence has played a part in your injury, you could take legal action against your employer. You could make an electric shock injury claim for compensation. The compensation you might be entitled to can help you on the road to recovery, as well as cover any financial losses you have suffered since your accident.

To discuss your case with our compassionate and understanding claims advisors, just give us a call, request a call back or start your claim online. You don’t have to go through such an upsetting and stressful experience on your own.

Get in touch today - we can help with your claim 08005677866
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