Recent data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that, on average, there are more than 400 electrocutions in the United States each year. Of these, about 180 are related to consumer products.
- Of the approximate 180 related to consumer products, large appliances are responsible for 10 percent.
- Electrocutions from wiring hazards, including damaged or exposed wiring and household wiring, totaled about 20 percent.
- Ladders contacting power lines caused nine percent of electrocutions; in another five percent of deaths, victims contacted the high power lines.
- Power tools were responsible for another nine percent of deaths.
- Landscaping, gardening, and farming equipment cause 67 percent of electrocutions each year.
Data from the National Safety Council indicates that electrical hazards in the workplace cause nearly one fatality every day.
- Annually, electrical hazards are listed as the cause of about 4,000 injuries.
- While only a small portion of electrical incidents occur on the job, they’re far more likely to be fatal.
- Electricity ranks sixth among all causes of occupational injury in the United States.
- Before the installation of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs), which de-energize a circuit when they detect a ground fault, nearly 800 people died annually from household electrocutions. Now, less than 200 people die annually from household electrocutions.
- Twenty-five percent of U.S. consumers don’t understand the purpose of their GFCIs.
- More than 25 percent of consumers don’t know that GFCIs can help prevent electrocution.
- Nearly one-half of U.S. families never test their GFCIs.
- Among those who routinely test their GFCIs, none do so according to safety recommendations—at least one per month and after storms.
Electrocutions don’t tell the entire story. Electricity is the cause of more than 140,000 fires each year, resulting in 400 deaths, 4,000 injuries, and $1.6 billion in property damage. Total economic losses due to electrical hazards are estimated to exceed $4 billion annually.
Although Electrical Safety Month only happens once per year, remember we’re exposed to electricity every day so respect it, stay safe, and stay alive.
Nickle Safety … It’s How We’re Wired
Mike Anderson, CHST