Two construction workers involved in a worksite accident are in critical condition after they were electrocuted on a job in Irvine, The Orange County Register reports. Officials said the incident occurred the night of December 5, 2014 at the corner of Harvard Avenue and Michelson Drive. There were at least 10 workers preparing for a planned power outage in the area. The two victims, men in their mid 20s, were working in the pit area of an underground vault. They were using jackhammers and somehow came in contact with a high-voltage line. Both suffered severe electrical shock and burns to their hands and faces. They were transported to a regional trauma center and are said to be in critical condition.
Our hearts go out to these two workers and their families. We wish them the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are about 350 electrical-related fatalities each year in the United States. The most common shock-related injury is a burn. Electrical burns cause tissue damage and are the result of heat generated by the flow of electric current through the body.
Electrical burns are one of the most serious injuries one can suffer and must be given immediate medical attention. High temperatures near the body produced by an electric arc or explosion cause arc or flash burns. Electrical accidents can also result in thermal burns. This is when the skin comes in contact with overheated electric equipment, or when clothing is ignited in an electrical incident.
Causes and Compensation Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the workers were operating jackhammers when they struck a power line. There are a number of questions that must be asked here. Were the workers properly trained for the job? Were they being supervised at the time? Were they equipped with safety gear needed for the job?
In such cases, injured workers will be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits from their employers. However, in California, workers’ compensation benefits are woefully inadequate, especially in cases where workers have suffered serious or catastrophic injuries.
In such cases, workers may be able to file a third-party claim against a party other than the employer. Examples of a third party include a contractor, construction company, sub-contractor, property owner, utility company or manufacturer of a defective product. An experienced Irvine personal injury lawyer will be able help injured workers and their families better understand their legal rights and options.