Electrical Hazards in Storm Drain Installation

by | Dec 8, 2023 | Construction Accident, Firm News

Installing storm drains is a critical operation within urban infrastructure projects, aimed at managing water runoff and preventing urban flooding. However, this type of construction work involves not only the use of heavy machinery and deep excavation but also exposes workers to significant electrical hazards. These hazards can stem from both the machinery used and the proximity of the installation sites to existing underground or overhead electrical lines. This article explores the specific electrical dangers associated with storm drain installation, typical accidents, the severe injuries that can result, and the legal avenues available to workers who suffer such injuries.

Electrical Hazards in Storm Drain Installation

Electrical hazards during storm drain installation typically arise from:

  • Contact with Live Wires: Both overhead and underground utility lines pose risks. Excavation work may inadvertently disturb buried electrical cables, while machinery or equipment could come into contact with overhead lines.
  • Equipment Malfunction: Electrical tools and machinery used in storm drain installation, such as concrete mixers, pumps, and excavators, can become hazardous if they malfunction due to faulty wiring or poor maintenance, potentially leading to electrocution or fires.
  • Improper Use of Equipment: Using equipment that is not designed for wet conditions can lead to electrical shorts and pose electrocution risks to workers handling or working near these tools.

Common Electrical Accidents and Resulting Injuries

Electrical hazards can lead to several types of serious accidents:

  • Electrocution: Direct contact with exposed wires or electrical equipment can result in electrocution, which is often fatal.
  • Electric Shocks: Non-fatal electric shocks can still cause serious injuries, including burns, cardiac arrest, and muscle damage.
  • Burns from Arc Flashes: An arc flash can occur when there is a sudden discharge of electricity through the air, caused by equipment failure or contact with power lines, leading to severe burns.
  • Secondary Injuries: Electrical incidents can cause workers to fall or be thrown away from the source of electricity, leading to secondary injuries such as fractures or head trauma.

Legal Considerations for Electrical Injuries

For workers injured by electrical hazards during storm drain installation, several legal considerations must be addressed:

  • Personal Injury Lawsuits: If the injury resulted from negligence—such as inadequate safety protocols, lack of proper equipment, or failure to de-energize and ground electrical lines—a personal injury lawsuit could be warranted. This can provide compensation beyond what is available under workers’ compensation, including full damages for pain and suffering.
  • Third-Party Claims: If the injury involved equipment failure, a defective product claim might be possible against the manufacturer of the equipment. Similarly, if a utility company failed to properly mark underground lines, it might be liable for injuries resulting from those oversights.

Steps to Take Following an Electrical Accident

Victims of electrical accidents during storm drain installation should:

  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Electrical injuries can have latent effects, especially on the heart and muscles.
  • Report the Incident: Notify supervisors and record the incident according to company protocol and local laws.
  • Document Evidence: Collect as much information as possible about the incident, including photographs of the area, the equipment used, and statements from witnesses.
  • Consult with an Attorney: Given the complexities of such cases, consulting with an attorney who specializes in personal injury and workers’ compensation law is crucial. An attorney can help navigate the legal process, determine all potential sources of liability, and advocate for the full spectrum of entitled compensation.

In conclusion, electrical hazards present serious risks in storm drain installation projects. Understanding these risks and knowing how to pursue appropriate legal action is crucial for protecting the health, safety, and legal rights of workers involved in these essential but dangerous tasks.

Our experienced lawyers have handled personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits of all kinds and have the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or those who have been seriously hurt.  The experienced construction personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident at a work site.

Our lawyers have represented numerous workers who have sustained serious and catastrophic injuries on a job site as a result of the negligence of another party.  There are strict and short time limits on making claims, so please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or to learn more about your legal rights.