AUTHOR: Nancy Schwartz

Electrical worker outside

New NFPA research reports Shine a Spotlight on Fatal and Non-Fatal Electrical Injuries at work

Each May, NFPA actively supports National Electrical Safety Month, a campaign sponsored by Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), which raises awareness of potential home electrical hazards, the importance of electrical fire safety, and the safety of all electrical and non-electrical workers. As a step towards this end, NFPA recently published two reports using data from the Bureau using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fatal Work Injuries Caused by Exposure to Electricity in 2020 and Nonfatal Work Injuries Caused by Exposure to Electricity in 2020,separately examine fatal and non-fatal electrical injuries at work. The reports find that many electrical injury victims are not “electrical workers” and are unlikely to have received training in recognizing and working safely around electrical hazards. Data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries show that 126 workers in the U.S were fatally injured in 2020 because of exposure to electricity. Hispanic workers accounted for two in five (40 percent) of the victims. It’s also worth noting that the vast majority (99 percent) of worker who were fatally injured through exposure to electricity were male.  Workers who were 25 to 34 years of age accounted for one-third (33 percent) of the fatal injuries.  Almost three in five injuries (56 percent) were caused by direct exposure to electricity, while two in five fatal injuries resulted from indirect exposure to electricity. The report also found that private residences were the leading location of fatal electrical injuries, followed by industrial premises and streets or highways ranking third. Data from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses indicate that workers in private industry and public administration experienced 2,380 nonfatal electrical injuries in 2020, an average of 46 injuries every week. The report finds that seven in 10 of the nonfatal injury victims were male (72 percent) and 27 percent were female.  Three-quarters of the victims were 44 years of age or younger. The vast majority (85 percent) of victims were injured through direct exposure to electricity at work while eight percent of victims were injured through indirect exposure to electricity. Take time during Electrical Safety Month to learn more about electrical hazards in the workplace and help us to share crucial information about ways we can reduce the risk of electrical injuries and create a safer world for everyone. 

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