Utility workers or power line workers are one of the most essential workers in our country. They keep the electricity flowing. Without electricity, our communities and society would shut down and many people would be harmed and injured. Even though the job is extremely important, being a utility worker is one of the most dangerous jobs there is in the United States. Given the nature of the position and the fact that utility workers work with huge amounts of electricity every day, accidents can be deadly.
Dangers Faced by Power Line Workers
There are different types of environments that utility workers have to perform their jobs in. Because of their importance, they are not stopped by rain, snow, ice, wind, daytime, and in the middle of the night. Power line workers may have to work hundreds of feet in the air or in dark and dank tunnels. Given their potential job sites and conditions, there are many ways that utility workers can suffer on the job injuries. Here are some examples of the dangers that they face:
- Electrocutions: The main cause of serious injuries and deaths for utility workers and power line workers is being electrocuted. Utility workers are constantly working around live electrical wires where just the smallest mistake or mis-step can cause an employee to suffer significant electrical burns or even a fatality.
- Falls from Heights: Because power line workers are often working from heights, there is always a risk of falling. These workers sometimes need to work dozens of feet in the air up to hundreds of feet in the air. If safety devices and fall protection devices fail or are not used properly or are not used at all, the risk of falls increases significantly.
- Slips, Trips, and Falls: In many industries, workers face the risk of slip and falls. Because most of the work that power line employees perform is outside and subject to the environment, their risk of slip and falls is high. When utility employees have to work outside in heavy rain, snow, and ice, they could easily fall, causing serious work-related injuries.
- Falling Things: Every time you see a utility employee working up high on a utility pole, you will see them wearing a hard hat. This is for good reason. One risk that utility workers face are things falling from above them and hitting them in the head. It could be a piece of equipment or something dropped from another worker.
- Explosions, Fires, and Burns: Due to the type of equipment utility workers use and work around, there is a risk of explosions, fires, and burns. Also, power line workers can suffer from electrical burns.
- Automobile Accidents: Utility workers have an increased risk of being involved in car and truck crashes. Power line workers will often be working on or near electrical and telephone poles on the side of roads. There is a risk of them being struck by a vehicle as they are walking around their vehicles. There is also a risk of their trucks being struck while they are parked on the side of the road and the utility workers are up in their buckets working on the power lines.
The above work-related injury risks are unique to power line workers, but they are still subject to the risks of common work injuries such as back injuries caused by heavy lifting or other types of physical injuries.
The Importance of Personal Protection Equipment
One of the many ways to prevent utility worker injuries is to use personal protection equipment (PPE) whenever appropriate and whenever possible. PPE can be many types of specifically designed clothing and gear for the utility industry. It can change depending on the type of job and environment being worked on. Many of the PPE gear and clothing is required by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.
Here are some examples of PPE that utility workers use:
- Arc flash rated clothing.
- Hard hats
- Harness for fall protection
- Hearing protection
- High visibility vests
- Rubber sleeves
- Safety goggles
- Specialized de-electric shoes and boats
- Specially designed rubber voltage gloves and leather gloves to protect against electrocutions
- Specially designed work pants
When PPE is not used or not used properly, power line workers can suffer serious work-related injuries. Employers are also obligated to properly train new and current utility workers to use the PPE properly.
What Can a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Do For You?
Many injured workers do not believe that they need to be represented by a lawyer: this is a mistake. You never know if your employer or their workers’ comp insurance company is paying you the right workers’ comp benefits. You have unpaid medical bills that you keep getting at home despite the fact that it is for treatment that is work related. You also may be receiving your weekly wage checks late or not at all. Also, sometimes your checks are different amounts with no explanation.
By speaking to an experienced Delaware workers’ comp attorney, you will at least have the peace of mind that they are treating you correctly and that your rights are being protected. Even if there is nothing that the lawyer has to do immediately, there may come a time that you will need them to fight the insurance company.
Delaware Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Power Line Workers Receive the Workers’ Comp Benefits They Deserve
If you are a utility worker and have suffered a serious work-related injury, you will need to be represented by a knowledgeable and skilled workers comp attorney. Our experienced Delaware workers’ comp lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow have decades of experience in helping injured workers. Call us today at (302) 427-9500 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.