Tips for Overhead Power Line Safety

The Electrical Safety Foundation International has compiled the occupational electrical injury experience of the major industries and occupations from data available through the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period 2003 through 2010.

A total of 42,882 occupational fatalities occurred from all causes and 1,738 of those were due to contact with electric current. The  construction industry had the highest number of electrical fatalities  (849), followed by professional and business services (208), trade, transportation, and utilities (182), natural resources and mining (154), and manufacturing (137). Just five occupations in the construction trades – electricians, construction laborers, roofers, painters, and carpenters – experienced more than 32% ofall electrical fatalities, electrical power line installers and repairers about 8%, and tree trimmers about 5%.

In order to fairly compare industries and occupations with different numbers of employees (hence different total exposures to electrical hazards) rates of fatal and nonfatal electrical injury were computed. It was shown that electrical fatalities were approximately 4% of all occupational fatalities each year between 2003 and 2010. “Contact with overhead power lines” was the leading fatal injury Event for the period, but was a minor source of nonfatal electrical injury. “Contact with wiring, transformers, or other electrical components”, “Contact with electric current of machines, tools, appliances or light fixtures”, and “Contact with electric current, unspecified” were the next largest fatal Event categories, respectively.