Stephen Hasner | News | September 26, 2020
A tragic accident involving power lines and a cement truck results in the death of the cement truck operator in Atlanta. Officials are calling the incident a freak accident.
According to the Atlanta Fire Department, the incident occurred just off Marietta Boulevard on Bolton Drive in northwest Atlanta. The Atlanta Police Department said that officers responded to a call around 4:00 p.m. at 2099 Bolton Drive. They found a deceased male near a cement truck.
The investigation into the matter revealed that the worker had been outside of the vehicle at the time of the incident. He appeared to be operating the concrete mixer when part of the truck made contact with electric lines. The worker appears to have died when the truck came into contact with the power lines.
Georgia Power stated that they are working with authorities to investigate the cause of the accident. Crews from the power company responded to the scene to clear the live power lines from the road.
Electrocutions in Top Four Causes of Construction Deaths
OSHA lists the top four causes of worker fatalities in the construction industry as falls, being struck by an object, electrocutions, and being caught in or between equipment. Electrocutions are the third most common cause of construction accident fatalities.
During 2018, approximately one-fifth of worker fatalities occurred in the construction industry. About 8.5 percent of those deaths were the result of electrocutions.
Working with electricity is common on a worksite or construction site. Power lines are necessary to operate some of the equipment. Crews also work to install utility lines throughout the project.
There are several ways that a worker could sustain an electrical injury. Four of the most common causes of electrical injuries or electrocutions on construction sites are:
Overhead Power Lines
Overhead power lines are one of the most common causes of electrocution. Construction equipment, including cranes, can come into contact with power lines. Ladders, scaffolds, and lifts are also common objects on a construction site that might come into contact with overhead power lines.
Damaged or Defective Equipment
Defective and damaged equipment can also pose a severe risk of electrocution. Equipment on a construction site should be inspected regularly to ensure that it is operating correctly. If a piece of equipment malfunctions, workers should immediately cease using the equipment and report the problem to management.
Damaged Extension Cords
Extension cords are used throughout a construction site, especially inside a building where power tools are being used. Heavy traffic and other hazards can cause extension cords to become frayed or damaged.
Extension cords need to be inspected regularly for damage. If any damage is detected, the cords need to be removed and replaced immediately.
Failing to Ground Wires
Live wires that have not been ground pose an electrocution hazard. Workers should assume that all wires are live and check to ensure that they have been properly grounded to avoid electrical injuries. Ground fault circuit interrupters should be used at construction sites.
Preventing Electrocutions at Construction Sites
There are several steps that workers and construction site operators can take to prevent electrocutions on job sites. Some of the safety steps include:
- Follow all safety measures and regulations established by OSHA and NFPA
- Use ground fault circuit interrupters
- Make the location of all underground electrical lines
- Know the location of all overhead power lines
- Use lock-out/tag-out practices before servicing any equipment
- Make sure that all electrical equipment is double insulated or properly grounded
- Inspect all power tools, extension cords, electrical outlets, and other electric machinery
- Keep metal objects out of the area where live electrical circuits or parts are located
Even though workers take steps to prevent electrocutions and electrical injuries, accidents may happen. If a worker is injured on the job, he might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Filing Third-Party Claims for Construction Accidents
Workers may also have another claim if a third party negligently caused the injury. For instance, if a defective product was responsible for the injury, the worker may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Workers can consult with a construction accident attorney to discuss their options for filing claims. If a third party is liable for the injury, the worker could receive additional compensation for a personal injury claim.
Workers’ comp benefits do not compensate the worker for all damages, such as pain and suffering damages and loss of income. Filing a personal injury claim against a third party allows the worker to receive compensation for the damages that are not covered by a workers’ compensation claim.
Family members might have a claim against a third party for wrongful death if a loved one dies in a work-related accident. Consulting a lawyer about your options is the best way to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve after a construction accident or workplace injury.