Electrocution Death and Construction Workers

Construction Workers Electrocution

After analyzing data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Fire Protection Association has determined that a “significant share” of contract worker deaths from electrocution in the four-year period from 2012 to 2016 were construction workers. Contract workers are either employees from an outside entity or self-employed independent contractors. In a report published in mid-December, the NFPA presented other findings.

About 30% of construction contract worker deaths from electrocution took place on a construction site, and construction trade workers represented 57% of fatal electrical-related accidents.

  • Electricians made up 31% of fatal electrical accidents
  • Construction laborers made up 11% of electrical accidents
  • Roofers and supervisors each made up 5% of electrical-related accidents

Direct exposure to electricity greater than 220 volts was responsible for 42% of the deaths; indirect exposure to the same voltage was responsible for 37% of the deaths. 

Safety Training a Must

As the demand for contract workers in the construction industry increases, safety training must improve or lives will continue to be lost at job sites. Outside workers must be given the same thorough safety training as the men and women who hired them from the outside received. Practices such as putting pressure on workers to complete projects on time and either on or under budget must stop as this pressure causes construction workers to work at a faster pace and to take short cuts that may put their safety at risk. Contract workers may have to take responsibility for their own safety and make demands on job sites that ensure they’re safe from life-threatening accidents and injuries.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists these as the most commonly cited construction standards involving electrical hazards:

  • General requirements for electrical conductors and equipment
  • Wiring design and protection
  • Wiring methods, components and equipment for general use
  • General requirements for protection of employees

OSHA also provides a number of tips for electrical safety for contract workers:

  • Locate underground power lines before starting work
  • Keep people, tools, vehicles, and equipment at least ten feet away from overhead power lines
  • De-energize overhead and underground lines before work begins
  • Ground all power supply systems, electrical circuits, and electrical equipment.
  • Make sure electrical equipment is free from defects before each use

To reduce the chance of an electrical accident on a job site, OSHA recommends these safety precautions:

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) including insulating gloves, non-conductive clothing, matting, blankets, and line hose must be used.
  • Engineering controls including surge protection devices and de-energizing or visibly grounding power lines.
  • Safety measures including regular tool inspections and maintenance, lock-out/tag-out procedures, and visibly flagging power lines above and below ground
  • Use non-conductive equipment
  • Never store materials beneath overhead power lines
  • Use an observer when operating overhead equipment.

According to OSHA, approximately 350 construction workers are fatally electrocuted on job sites each year, and even though people do survive accidents involving electrocution, these types of workplace incidents often result in serious injuries that leave people with a mountain of medical bills and the inability to work.

Lynn Fugaro About Lynn Fugaro

Lynn has been writing web content since 2007 after a lengthy career as a middle school English teacher and administrator. Writing web content seemed a natural progression following a career teaching adolescents about the beauty and the power of the written word, and she quickly got hooked on the challenge of writing SEO- and reader-friendly content that could be found on Page 1 of Google and other search engines.

Having written content for physicians and attorneys for the first few years of her writing career, Lynn has most recently produced original, informative, entertaining, and relevant content for the entertainment industry, the automotive industry, senior communities, pet rescues and numerous other businesses hoping to increase website traffic and page views for all clients looking for informative, vibrant content.