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Potential consequences of electric shock on construction sites

On Behalf of | Jan 21, 2021 | Firm News

If you work on a New York construction site and suffer an electrocution incident, burns, brain damage, injuries to internal organs or heart stoppage can result. You could suffer the consequences of a contractor’s negligence for years after an accident.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, there were nearly 2,000 non-fatal electrical injuries, in 2018, with more than 25% in the construction industry. Your body’s response depends on the amount of current, duration of flow and its path through the body.

Muscle spasms

A current as low as 0.25 milliamperes can cause a buzzing or tingling sensation but doesn’t cause injury. However, by the time the current reaches 10 mA, it typically causes sustained muscle contraction. If you touch it with your hands, it may prevent you from letting go, increasing the shock severity. As the milliamperes increase, it can also result in violent spasms that cause tearing in tendons, muscles and ligaments, burning the tissue.

Cardiac arrest

Electrical impulses create the rhythm of the heartbeat, which pumps blood through the body. When a current of 50 mA passes through the heart, it may disrupt the natural rhythm, called arrhythmia. This may occur at the time of the shock or in the hours following it. If ventricular fibrillation results, the heart stops pumping, blood stops circulating, and you could lose consciousness.

Current above 100 mA leaves burn marks on the skin and can affect internal organs. These unseen injuries can be more severe than the external burns suggest, causing scarring, loss of function, amputation and death. When electrical shock or burns damage nerves, you may experience respiratory arrest, seizure and amnesia. Brain damage that results could cause permanent psychiatric disorders.