Work-related electrocutions involving portable power tools and appliances

J Occup Med. 1992 Sep;34(9):887-92.


Portable power tools and appliances can be identified as the source of injury in approximately 9% of occupational electrocutions. A search of fatality records for 1984 through 1986 in National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data bases identified 102 electrocutions involving portable appliances and tools that used 110-volt AC and 33 deaths involving welding equipment, which usually operates on 220-volt AC or higher. Of these 102 deaths, 51 occurred in the construction industry, 13 in services, 13 in manufacturing, and 25 in other industries. Plumbing contractors (Standard Industrial Classification [SIC] 1711) had the largest number of deaths (15) in construction. Powered hand-tools were involved in 58 deaths, with electric drills (23) and saws (13) the two largest classes. Proper provision of ground-fault circuit interrupter protection, particularly at temporary work sites, could have prevented most of the deaths from 110-volt AC. Engineering controls for preventing electrocution from portable arc-welding equipment should be evaluated.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / mortality*
  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control
  • Adult
  • Electric Injuries / mortality*
  • Electric Injuries / prevention & control
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Welding*