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Fatal Electrical Injuries of Contract Workers

Report: NFPA's "Fatal Electrical Injuries Contract Workers"
Author: Richard Campbell
Issued: May 2018


*Errata issued November 12, 2021. Download the errata. (PDF)



Key findings

  • 325 contract workers died as a result of electrical injury in the U.S. from 2012 to 2016. 
  • 87% of contract workers who died as a result of electrical injury were wage and salary workers, while the remaining 13% were self-employed.
  • 64% of the victims were between the ages of 20 and 44, while another 22% were aged 45 to 54 years.
  • 68% of contractors who died as a result of exposure to electricity worked in construction and extraction occupations and another 18% worked in installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.  Workers in building and grounds cleaning and repair occupations accounted for 3% of injury victims.

Key takeaways

  • Fatalities due to direct exposure to electricity indicate that work is being performed on or around energized equipment.
  • Many fatalities involve self-employed workers or occur outside the traditional workplace, indicating a need for broader electrical safety education and oversight and innovative approaches to electrical safety training.

Annual number of fatal contract worker electrical injuries