On Wednesday, August 3, a utility worker for AT&T was killed in an electrical accident after coming in contact with live power lines in an Ellenwood, GA neighborhood. The company was running fiber-optic cables through the area that morning, and the accident occurred at approximately 11:30 AM.
The 44-year-old worker was electrocuted while trying to stow the bucket (in which he was working) into the bed of his truck. He was found lying on the ground on fire by a co-worker who had heard an explosion and ran toward the side of the accident. Fire crews and paramedics were called to help, but tragically, the worker was pronounced dead at the scene. The incident is still under investigation.
We at Bailey, Javins, and Carter would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family of the victim, and our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
The Dangers of Fatal Electrical Accidents in Georgia Workplaces
Sadly, the fatal electrocution accident in Ellenwood, GA is far from an isolated incident. Electricity has long been known to be a workplace hazard, and according to the CDC, hundreds of American workers die from contact with electrical energy each year, and thousands more are seriously injured.
We have written previously about the hazards of working as a power lineman and the daily risks utility workers have to deal with when they are frequently around electricity. Unfortunately, utility companies are still not doing nearly enough to keep their employees safe, as this latest accident shows.
There are a number of reasons why electrocutions and other electrical injuries occur in the workplace. These include:
Faulty Power Lines: Power lines carry enough electricity to supply several buildings with power, and as we saw with the AT&T utility worker who recently lost his life, they can be very hazardous when someone comes in contact with them. Utility companies are required to follow the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) to help ensure the safe installation, operation, and maintenance of electrical power.
Exposed or Frayed Wiring: Damaged or frayed wires or wiring that is exposed presents another safety hazard in many workplaces. Exposed or frayed wiring can often constitute negligence.
Contact With Water: Many people learn at a young age that water and electricity do not mix. As such, workplaces with wet conditions must take extra safety precautions to ensure that moisture does not cause an electrical accident.
Equipment Overload: Workers should be trained to check and follow the load rating when working with electrical equipment. If an employer or contractor routinely ignores voltage or wattage limits, there is a higher risk of electrocution accidents because of equipment overload.
Ungrounded Power: Grounding is absolutely critical whenever employees are working with high-voltage power systems. Failure to implement proper grounding can cause severe electrical injuries and fatalities.
When it comes to electrical accidents in the workplace, the main cause is usually some type of failure on the part of an employer or a third-party contractor to follow best safety practices. Employers are responsible to train employees to follow proper procedures, and contractors who are licensed to do this work are supposed to be adequately educated and trained as well.
If a Georgia employer is at fault for a work-related electrical injury, workers’ comp is usually the first avenue employees seek to recover compensation. But in many instances, there could be a party other than the employer or co-worker at fault, in which case the injured employee (or their loved ones in the case of a fatal injury) may be able to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.
Every circumstance is unique, but the important thing is to ensure that you are working with attorneys who have in-depth experience with workplace injury claims and thoroughly understand the complexities and nuances involved with these types of cases. After an extensive investigation, your legal team can determine the most appropriate course of action in order to obtain the compensation you need and deserve for your injuries.
Contact Our Reputable Atlanta Workplace Injury Firm
At Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C., we have been standing up for injured workers for more than five decades, and we have a successful track record with even the most complex cases. If you or a loved one suffered a work-related injury in Georgia, contact our Atlanta office today at (678) 981-5370 or message us online to schedule a free consultation case assessment. We are ready to go to work for you!