For most of us, the only dangers we face at work are the haphazard drivers we encounter on the roadways during our commutes. Electricians, however, face many dangers and risks, many of them not so commonly known. While we need electricity to function in our modern society, we rely on electricians to keep the lights on and our industries powering forward.
While electrical work can be a rewarding career, it’s important for the public to know just how many life-risking hazards await your average electrical professional.
Here are ten dangers and risks electrical workers face every time they show up for work, even though most love their careers so much they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Exposure to Toxic Materials:
Electricians often have to work in areas where lead, solvents, solder, and other dangerous substances are in vast abundance. As the electrician does his or her job, these materials are being breathed in or otherwise absorbed into the individual’s body. Over time, various health conditions can develop on account of this exposure, increasing healthcare costs and potentially leading to disability or even early death.
Increased Risk of Burns:
Everyone knows not to stick anything metal into your home’s electrical sockets. For most homes, that jolt amounts to 150 volts. Electricians deal with wires that pump out juice ten times that amount or more, in some cases. Touching these wires can lead to drastic burn wounds or worse.
Risk of Fatal Electric Shock:
Touching a live wire won’t just cause a burn in some cases. Electricians have to face the fact that every day they face situations where a single touch of a wire could cause an instant, painful, and early death. It is that knowledge that gives electrical workers the satisfaction in knowing they’re handling the dangerous work that most of us aren’t willing to do.
Confined Spaces Increase Injury Risk:
Electricians often have to squeeze into the smallest areas, which can increase the chances of being hurt. Bone aches and sprains, not to mention cuts and scrapes can result from shimmying into tight spots just to reach a home or business’s electrical panel.
Exposure to Dangerous Temperatures:
It’s not just the electrical current that most professionals have to worry about. Working in the sun or snow can be equally dangerous, even if all precautions are taken when working with live electricity. Electrical workers can, in some cases, be susceptible to sunstroke and frostbite, which requires plenty of hydration and the proper clothing in addition to taking extreme care when working with electrical tools and live wires.
Susceptible to Repetitive Movement Injuries:
Like other contractors, electrical workers are accustomed to making small but repetitions movements, which can lead to muscle aches, pains, and other ailments later on. Over time, these injuries can lead to chronic pain, which can plague the electricians long into old age.
Exposure to Molds, Fungi & Bacteria:
Electrical control panels tend to be kept in dark and dingy places, which is also an excellent environment for molds, fungi, and bacteria to flourish. Breathing in these toxic spores can cause allergy flare ups and other illnesses that can quickly put an electrician out of commission for extended periods of time.
Overtime Work Stress:
Electricians often have to work long hours, which further puts them at risk. Being exhausted on the job is a familiar feeling to most, but with electricians it can be downright dangerous to feel so sleepy. A single slip could lead to a burn, lethal jolt, fall, or other accident, causing injury or death.
Exposure to Asbestos:
Many electricians have been exposed to asbestos over their careers, which can increase the chances of the individual getting cancer and other illnesses like mesothelioma.
Risk of Falling from Extreme Heights:
Electrical workers often have to climb to get to hard-to-reach electrical lines and control boxes. Whether the issue that needs to be fixed is on the roof or a cherry picker is lifting the electrician to a tall power line, the risk of falling is always present. If the fall is high enough, the worker faces a debilitating injury, complete disability, or death.
We rely on our electricians to keep us warm in winter, cool in the summer, and seeing clearly, even at night. Yet we often don’t realize that every time we see an electrician working, or call one to fix a power issue in our home or office, that professional is putting his or her life on the line.
Electricity work is a dangerous field, but most electricians know the risks involved and still show up everyday motivated to do an excellent job. That makes electricians some of the toughest and most important workers we have in our society. Even though electricians face many dangers and risks, most get through their days with little to no injuries, because of their training and attention-to-detail.
Do you have an electrical problem that needs fixing? Schlumbrecht’s Electric can help. We are now serving homes and businesses throughout New Orleans, Metairie, and Marrero, Louisiana.