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The 6 Most Common Causes of Electrocution in the Workplace

Understanding the common causes of electrocution is an excellent way to avoid being electrocuted on the job.

The result of being electrocuted on the job is often incredibly damaging. Some of the most common of them include intense pain, electrical burns, and heart complications. One of the best ways to avoid these adverse outcomes is understanding what the typical sources of electrocution are.

hard hat and other construction tools

Inadequate Wiring

Wiring equipment, such as extension cords, are built to only handle a specific amount of electricity. If the energy exceeds that level, you will be at risk of electrocution or fires. You can avoid this accident by double checking that your gear is resilient enough to handle the job at hand.


A concept that is similar to inadequate wiring is overloads. These events usually take place when too many cords are plugged into one circuit. What happens is that the temperature of the entire system rises, and at some point, it catches on fire. An additional possible result is you getting electrocuted when you try to remedy the situation.

Ground Faults

Though it takes a bit of physics knowledge to fully understand electricity, what you need to know is that it usually runs in a closed circuit. When that circuit is open, electrical devices become dangerous, as touching them will include you in the system and give you a significant shock. The good news is that tools and electrical equipment often have safeguards against this issue.

Power Lines

While many power lines are insulated, a significant portion of them are not. This can affect you in two ways. First, you might be working on the lines and get a shock from them. Second, you could accidentally touch them with a tool or vehicle while carrying out an unrelated task. Either way, the voltage passed on to you in the process could be incredibly powerful and lead to adverse health outcomes.

Live Parts

Some manufacturers build electrical equipment with uninsulated openings. While they have their reasons, this practice is unsafe for workers. You can avoid getting electrocuted by looking for warning signs, wearing protective gear, and being as careful as possible around these areas.

Temporary Wiring

Lastly, we have temporary wiring. As we explained above, different pieces of equipment have very specific uses and capacities. Temporary wiring is notorious for being less resilient than it should be, but lazy habits often lead to them becoming permanent. This practice can lead to electrocution and burns, as the wiring is susceptible to malfunctioning.

Understanding the common causes of electrocution is an excellent way to avoid being electrocuted on the job. Additionally, it is always smart to review your company safety guidelines. Combine those two pieces of knowledge, and you will significantly reduce the likelihood of harm.

If you have been electrocuted on the job, you are likely entitled to workers comp. To speak with an experienced St. Louis work injury lawyer give us a call 24/7 at (314) 361-4300.

Updated: April 5, 2021