Construction workers in South Carolina may face significant risk when working with electricity, especially as contract workers. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NPFA), a significant percentage of contract worker fatalities on the job come as a result of electrocution. Contract workers are differentiated at construction sites by operating as self-employed independent contractors or employees of another firm subcontracted for the job. In total, 13 percent of electrocution fatalities at construction sites happened to contract workers.
In addition, 8 percent of all fatalities suffered by contract workers at any type of job were electrocution deaths. Of those, 68 percent were employed in construction or extraction. Just less than a third of all of these deaths occurred on a construction site. The most fatalities were caused by direct exposure to electrical currents greater than 220 volts while indirect exposure to high voltage was responsible for 37 percent of the fatalities. Some workers were more likely to face risks than others: 57 percent of the fatal workplace accidents happened to construction trade workers, 31 percent to electricians, 11 percent to laborers, 5 percent to roofers and 5 percent to supervisors.
While contract workers have always been part of the construction industry, this kind of work is becoming increasingly common. The NPFA cautioned that contract workers may not be receiving workplace safety training at the level of full-time employees. As a result, they may be even more vulnerable to sustaining workplace injuries. In addition, contractors may be brought on to a project running behind schedule. Workers may face additional pressure to speed up despite the associated risk.
Construction workers injured on the job may suffer severe consequences, including permanent disabilities that may prevent them from returning to work. A workers’ compensation lawyer could help injured individuals protect their rights and pursue the compensation they need.