Electricity Injuries: Fatal Electrocution Accidents

Electricity Injuries: Fatal Electrocution Accidents

The widespread power outages after 2017’s Hurricane Irma in Florida testify to the reality that our society needs electricity in order to function.  However, it’s important for everyone to keep a healthy respect and wariness regarding electricity and its dangers.

Electricity kills and causes permanent harm.  Even a minor electric shock is extremely painful and can be temporarily incapacitating (e.g., stun guns).  Electrocution accidents and electric shocks can happen in all sorts of ways, killing the victim or leaving them seriously injured with possible life-long injuries.  See, Electrocution: Electricity Kills People In All Kinds of Electrical Accidents – Be Careful of Electrocution Dangers.

Sadly, despite safety measures to protect people from serious electrical burns, electric shocks, and electrocutions, these accidents continue to happen. 

Consider the following fatal electrocution examples from the past few days:

Chicago Man Electrocuted on Blue Line Station Train Tracks

On Sunday, the body of a 42-year-old man was discovered in Chicago where he apparently died from exposure to the live electricity lines found in the railroad tracks of the Blue Line Station near Pulaski.  His electrocution death is being confirmed and investigated by officials.

Ohio Teen Electrocuted While Working on Utility Pole

A young man employed by an Ohio electrical contracting firm climbed into a bucket and began his job of stringing cable last Friday.  He came into contact with a live wire up there on the utility pole, and suffered a fatal electrocution.  The victim was only 19 years old.

Good Samaritan Electrocuted Stepping on Power Line Downed in Storm

An accountant down in Florida was discovered by police lying in the roadway last Tuesday.  He had been helping fellow Hurricane Irma victims when the man apparently stepped on an electric power line that had been down in the hurricane force winds.  His tragic death by electrocution made international news.

Electrocution When Boat Hits Electric Power Line in Water

In another rescue event, several men were in a boat down in Texas looking to help rescue people stranded by flood waters in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.  As they maneuvered through the moving waters, they lost control of their boat and were swept into contact with live electric lines.  Witnesses reported they could see sparks erupting out of the water as the men were “electrocuted several times.”

Electrocution While Walking on Train Tracks

Last Sunday, the body of a 49-year-old man was discovered very near to a New York City train station where apparently he had been electrocuted while walking on the train tracks.

What is Electrocution?

Electrocution is death by electricity.  The human body will perish if it is exposed to 7 milliamps of electricity for a mere 3 seconds.

Death from electrocution is caused by the electrical current interrupting the heart’s beating rhythm, causing it to fail and cease function.

For details, read the in-depth discussion of how this happens in the 2015 article written by Tom Hartsfield and published in Real Clear Science entitled, “How Does Electrocution Kill You?

It is possible for someone to survive an electrocution.  They will often sustain permanent injuries that are life-changing.

Electrocution Can Happen Anywhere

It is true that most instances of electrocution injuries happen to workers on the job, where their work-related tasks bring them into contact with electricity in some way.  Construction workers, for instance, are particularly at risk of electrocution.  See, OSHA Training Institute Instructor Guide: Focus Four Electrocution Hazards.

According to OSHA, about 5 workers die from electrocution each week in this country.  That’s a significant on-the-job danger for everyone on the job in Indiana and Illinois to know!!

Most of these electrocution deaths while working on the job come from one of four sources:

  • Contact with overhead power lines
  • Contact with live circuits in panels
  • Poorly maintained cords and tools
  • Lightning strikes.

However, it’s not just the job site that is a concern. Electricity and electric power lines pervade our communities.  Electricity is everywhere.  This means that electricity accidents and electrocutions can happen anytime someone comes into contact with a live wire. 

Examples include:

Electrocution Accident Claims

The reality is electrocution victims are often killed due to the negligence of others.  This may be from unsafe working conditions, or a defective product, or failed power lines or power sources.   Electrocution victims and their loved ones may have damage claims based upon the negligent electrocution accident.  Wrongful death claims may need to be filed.

Let’s educate ourselves and our loved ones about the real danger of electricity and the need to be cautious and careful whenever and wherever electricity is involved.  Let’s be careful out there!

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