Occupational fatalities due to electrocutions in the construction industry

J Safety Res. 2008;39(6):617-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2008.10.007. Epub 2008 Nov 21.


Introduction: Occupational fatalities due to contact with electricity account for approximately 9% of all deaths in the construction industry and is the fourth leading cause of death in this industry.

Method: Differences in the proportions of electrocutions in the construction industry are significantly different from other industries based upon the age of the worker and the source of the electricity.

Results: This study found that, in the construction industry, the proportion of occupational fatalities due to contact with electric current is significantly higher for workers in the 16 to 19 years old age group. Contact with overhead power lines occurred more frequently with younger workers, while contact with electric wiring, transformers, and related equipment was found to occur more frequently with older workers. The proportion of fatalities due to this event was also found to account for a significantly greater proportion of fatalities in the construction industry overall.

Impact on industry: The proportions of electrocution fatalities in the construction industry were found to be significantly higher for younger workers when compared to all other industries. Focusing prevention measures toward younger workers who work near overhead power lines could have a significant impact upon death rates. For older workers, the focus should be on those who work on or near transformers, electrical wiring, and components. Across the construction industry, implementation of effective lockout-tagout programs, and verification of energy isolation, can prevent approximately 125 fatalities per year in the construction industry.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / mortality*
  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Construction Materials*
  • Electric Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Electric Injuries / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Industry*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult