When you head out to work, you have the right to expect to be kept safe from an electric shock accident while you’re doing your job. Every work environment has different risks but the reality is, no workplace can function in the 21st century without electricity. It’s clear, then, that electrical accidents can lead to electric shock accident claims against employers.
Electricity is a necessity – the vital juice fuelling the vast majority of services and equipment in the business environment. Without electricity, few businesses could function. However, where there is electricity there is the risk of sustaining an electric shock injury. Those injured as a result of shock through no fault of their own can being electric shock injury claims.
Higher voltages and working outdoors with electrical equipment – such as construction workers using power tools – increases the risk of an electric shock accident. Even at a low voltage, you can sustain electrical shock injuries for which you should be able to claim electric shock injury compensation.
Electric shocks can be caused by voltages as low as 50v if the voltage is applied between two parts of the body. Usually, shocks happen where a bare extremity, such as a finger or arm, accidentally touches an electric current which then causes an electrical current to pass through the body, blocking the signals between the brain and the muscles.
Typical electricity-related injuries that lead to electric shock injury compensation claims include:
Inconsistent heartbeats caused by shock
Damaged urinary systems
Organ failure including cardiac arrest
Damage to the nervous system
Psychological damage, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Severe muscle spasms
Numbness and tingling
Weakness or light-headedness
Headache, confusion and even seizures
Electric shocks can interrupt normal heart beating, prevent breathing, and cause muscle spasms and even cause cardiac arrest. In some cases, the electric shock can in fact cause ‘secondary’ injuries. For example, the shock can cause the individual to fall from a height and sustain further injuries, such as broken bones and concussion.
If the shock is caused by a high voltage, injuries can be serious and life-changing. It can cause deep tissue burns, significant nerve damage, paralysis and even brain damage. Tragically, electric shocks can cause serious personal injury or even a fatal injury for some electric shock victims.
Whatever the injuries you or your loved one has sustained, employers must be held to account if the electric shock or electrocution was avoidable. You can do this by claiming personal injury compensation by bringing an electric shock accident claim.
If you or a loved one have suffered electric shock injuries while at work, we can help you make a no win no fee electrical shock injury compensation claim. Ensuring ongoing electrical safety is a key duty of employers, so it’s highly likely that if you suffered electrical shock from an electrical current or machinery at work, your employer was negligent.
However the accident happened, electrocution incidents are serious and can cause significant, life-changing injuries – sometimes death. These electric shock incidents are very unlikely to take place unless the employer failed in its duties in some way to keep you and other workers safe. This is why it’s important for injured workers to bring electric shock injury compensation claims.
If you have been injured following workplace electrical shock accidents, get in touch straightaway to make a no win no fee claim. Electric shock injury compensation can never undo the harm done to you but it can make a real difference to your financial situation and help you on the road to recovery.
Contact a legal advisor who will ask you for details about how the electric shock injury was sustained, explain the claims process and partner you with specialist personal injury solicitors who are best placed to handle your electric shock claim and other personal injury claims. They will also give you a free consultation. Unlike many lawyers, personal injury solicitors are heavily regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and carry professional indemnity insurance, giving you peace of mind.
Your solicitor will need to demonstrate that your employer owed you a duty of care and that they breached that duty, causing your injuries. In the case of such a serious incident as electrocution at work, it is normally a straightforward process of collecting the evidence to prove negligence – and securing an admission of liability on the part of the employer.
To find out about making a no win no fee claim, get in touch on 0800 234 6438, or use our contact form and request a call back to discuss your own electric shock injury claim. We offer an initial consultation with a specialist electric shock injury solicitor when you can learn more about no win no fee claims.
Bringing a personal injury claim is stressful, and it can be harder if you think, or even assume, you were to blame for what happened – even in the case of an electric shock at work. However, in many cases that is an incorrect assumption – so if you believe that the incident was your fault, you must still talk things over with specialist advisors so that you know where you stand.
And when you do make an injury claim against your employer, they may come back and argue you were partly to blame for your injuries (or may even deny responsibility completely). However, it is then the employer’s responsibility to prove you were to blame, even if it was a mild electric shock.
There are cases where the employee can be treated partially to blame, for example, you may have been reckless by using faulty equipment or touching a live wire – even though the employer should have ensured live wires had been made safe before you arrived on shift. In such a scenario, if you are found partly to blame (this is known as ‘contributory negligence’) your employer would probably not have to pay you the maximum compensation. In that case, how much compensation you receive would be reduced by a proportionate amount to reflect your responsibility for the electric shock accident.
So if you have suffered an electric shock but think you were partly to blame for your injuries, it is important to raise this with your personal injury solicitor as early as you can. It should not stop you making a claim but it could reduce the amount of electric shock injury compensation you receive.
There are a number of different ways in which workers can suffer an electric shock at work, whether an office worker, construction workers or working in a factory – prompting electric shock claims. The most common electrical health hazards in the workplace arise out of a failure to ensure safe systems at work and include:
Faulty equipment and faulty wiring
Exposed live wiring
Lack of adequate training and supervision, which could lead to a factory accident claim
Poorly maintained equipment
Failure to install electrical hazard warning signs
Failures in safe isolation of a power supply
Lack of shock protective equipment, such as rubber insulating gloves
Failures in medical equipment during surgery, which should lead to a medical negligence claim
Accidents may be caused by incorrect use of equipment because of poor training, lack of user handbooks, failure to supervise or through carelessness. These scenarios can lead to people inadvertently coming into electrical energy sources causing potential electric shock injury.
If the surrounding environment is unsafe, water or other liquids or sparks from other equipment of wiring can come into contact with electrical currents causing electric shock injuries.
Even lower voltage batteries can get hot quickly and likely to explode if they are shorted out, causing burns. Sadly, higher voltages can cause severe electrocution and serious injuries and sometimes, even death.
One of the wider risks of working with faulty electrical equipment and currents is explosions – even a spark generated from a low voltage can result in an explosion causing serious burns to individuals working within the vicinity.
Electric shock injury claims in the workplace – who can be affected?
Anyone working with or near electrical equipment and/or electrical wiring and cables may be at risk of electric shock or burn injuries. In addition, those working (or visiting premises) in the wider vicinity of an explosive environment, such as vehicle paint spraying or workplaces that deal with fine dusts, such as flour, and chemical factories are also at risk.
Even if you’re not working directly with or near electrical equipment, cables and wires you could be at risk of electrical injuries or from injuries resulting from explosions or extreme heat.
Unlike many other types of injuries, more people could be injured after the first victim has had an injury sustained following an electric shock. This is because if someone goes to help the first victim who has suffered an electric shock, they could become a secondary victim.
Naturally, workmates go to the aid of someone who has been hurt without hesitating to consider the risk they may be about to put themselves in, which means they risk injuries to themselves.
Electrical burns and thermal burns are serious injuries and need immediate medical treatment. They usually result from a breach of health and safety duties at work and could have been avoided, which means the victim should be able to make an electric shock injury claim.
Electrical burns are caused when an electrical current passes through the body, heating the tissue the current passes along. Because of the nature of electrical currents on the human body, deep tissue burns can result – particularly in the case of higher voltages.
Thermal burns are caused by contact with a hot surface, though they can also result from electrical explosions in factories. Electricity-related burns can also result from touching live objects or exposed wires; and from electrical equipment that has been allowed to become extremely hot through overload or poor maintenance. It is possible to sustain burns from the surfaces of some electrical equipment that is operated and being used normally.
So any worker who has sustained electrical burn injuries should make enquiries as soon as they are able to about making a personal injury compensation claim.
All employers have a legal duty to ensure the workplace is safe and that any risks identified in ongoing risk assessments are swiftly dealt with. If accidents happen which cause electric shock injuries, employers can expect to be presented with electric shock injury compensation claims.
Employers’ general responsibilities in relation to worker safety are set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other laws. These require that they ensure that, so far as they reasonably can, they protect their employees’ health, safety and welfare – including self-employed electrical contractors
For example, employers must ensure electrically powered equipment is properly maintained on a regular basis to ensure it remains safe to use and to minimise any risk of electric shock injuries.
In addition to these general health and safety rules, there are specific rules relating to electricity at work including:
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 – This imposes duties on both employers and employees in relation to their use of electricity in the workplace. Employers, for instance, must maintain electrical systems and carry out work on them to prevent the danger of electrical shock.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) sets out specific rules on the installation and upkeep of certain types of equipment.
The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations – These set out the duties of employees in relation to providing clothing and equipment to protect workers from hazards, including electrical shock. This could be as simple as providing anti-static clothing to workers to avoid sparks in an explosive atmosphere, which could lead to an electric shock.
The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 – These sets out how employers should manage the risk of fire, electrical shock, explosion or similar events arising from dangerous substances. For example, employers have a duty to eliminate or control the risks from explosive atmospheres.
Homeworking – Employers’ duties include the protection of homeworkers and this is particularly important during the covid-19 environment. The duties includes ensuring the work can be done from safety and considering whether any control measures need to be implemented as a protective measure.
Many faults in equipment, for example in laptops and monitors and irons, can be identified by means of a simple visual inspection of the equipment – something that employers can easily do when checking the work equipment to be used at home. (However, such inspections should only be undertaken by competent people.) While electrical appliance manufacturers owe a duty to ensure equipment is safe to use, employers are expected to carry out regular checks.
If employers fail to take adequate steps to protect workers from the risks and breached any of these health and safety and related regulations, the chances of an electric shock injury escalate. Such a failure on the part of an employer can cause potentially serious electric shock injuries for which workers can make personal injury claims.
During the covid-19 era, homeworking for millions of people became necessary. If you sustained an electric shock injury while using electrical work equipment at home, you may be able to claim electric shock injury compensation.
The Health and Safety Executive has made clear that employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for homeworkers as they have for other workers. If you have an accident at home while using company equipment, you are very likely to be able to claim compensation.
Although general health and safety legislation does not apply to domestic premises, employers still have duties towards employees who work from home. For example, they must consider whether the work is suitable be done from home; and carry out a risk assessment of the work they expect workers to undertake in their own home.
Many people who have had to revert to working from home during the pandemic have been overloading sockets, charging electrical equipment on beds, soft furnishings and other flammable surfaces, using extension cords in dangerous places and are unaware of the associated risks. Those risks include electric shocks, burns, fire, trips and damage to property.
The purposes of risk assessments is, in part, to check any equipment you will be required to use; whether it is suitable and safe to use in the place you intend to use it; and to make any necessary changes if any risks have been identified. If your employer failed to do this, the risk of electric shock injury increases.
For example, a visual inspection of electrical equipment such as screens and laptops, will usually reveal existing faults. Even simple checks such as ensuring the plug is not damaged and correctly wired; the fuse correctly rated; and no tell-tale signs of burns or heat damage on the outer case of the equipment can identify risk areas. These can then be rectified and, importantly, the risk of electric shock injury minimised.
However, employees are also excepted to take reasonable care to protect their own safety while working from home. If you have sustained electrical injuries while working from home, you will need to explain what your employer has done so far to make your working environment and equipment as safe as possible. If appropriate, you might be given the tools you need to look after and maintain the equipment needed to carry out the work – but this should never be a replacement for the employer’s own duties of care.
The fact is, taking company equipment home so that you can continue doing the work you are contracted to do should be safe and risk free. If there is a failure on the employer’s part, and an electric shock injury results, the injured person can bring a no win no fee claim for electric shock compensation.
Get in touch with us as soon as possible so that a trained adviser can guide you through the process of electric shock injury claims Contact us using our online claim form or call us for free on 0800 234 6438 to speak with an electric shock injury solicitor, who will give you a free consultation and legal advice. Your personal injury solicitor will take your electric shock compensation claim under a conditional fee agreement, which means you will pay no legal fees unless you win.
With no win no fee claims, if you win you pay a success fee to your solicitors to cover their fees (the success fee will be no more than 25% of your compensation amount).
You need to gather as much evidence as you can to secure maximum compensation. If your injuries are serious, get someone else to do this for you; and if you’re claiming for a loved one, try to get the information together on their behalf so that a no win no fee claim can begin. The details and information which will allow your personal injury lawyer to build a strong case include:
Photographs of your injuries and any photographic evidence of the circumstances of the accident
Any records detailing your medical treatment following the accident
An entry in the workplace accident book
A copy of a report to the HSE
The contact details of people who witnessed the accident
Any available CCTV footage. Owners of a CCTV system, such as your employer, have a legal duty to provide this footage within 40 days of you request them
You should also retain any receipts and invoices relating to expenses arising directly from your electric shock injury. These could include medical bills or wages or bonuses lost through time taken off work. Your solicitor will also need to arrange for an assessment with a medical expert for the purposes of a medical report on your injuries and your prognosis. This will be necessary to support your claim and help in securing maximum compensation. You don’t need to worry about the cost of this as it will be covered by your no win no fee agreement.
If your solicitor thinks your electric shock injury will adversely affect you financially, such as a reduction in your earning ability or the cost of ongoing care, your electric shock injury compensation claim will account for this.
To make a successful no win no fee compensation claim after an electrical injuries at work, your solicitor will need to prove on balance that your employer was negligent and/or breached their duties under the health and safety regulations. This means proving your employer breached the duty of care towards you; your electric shock injuries were reasonably foreseeable; and the injuries were the direct result of the employer negligence.
Usually, in these types of accident it will not be difficult to prove your employer was negligent and ensure you receive compensation. How much compensation you receive depends on your injuries, the extent of them and the impact on your life. Your solicitor will discuss electric shock compensation amounts with you.
Whilst we cannot give you an average compensation figure when claiming compensation, you can try our online compensation calculator for an initial estimate of how much you could win – but bear in mind it should only be treated as a guide. Your specialist personal injury solicitor can discuss potential levels of compensation with you in more detail.
Workers have every right to make electric shock injury compensation claims for any electric shock or burns sustained at work. That said, it is common to be fearful of the potential repercussions at work if you are claiming compensation.
This is understandable because most people really don’t want to make life difficult for the employer; and having exposed problems relating to health and safety in your workplace – knowing you have or intend returning to work there – can be a huge worry if you’ve had an electric shock accident.
Thankfully, when it comes to making an electric shock injury claim against your employer, there are laws in place to protect you from being unfairly dismissed or treated differently, such as the Employment Rights Act 1996. Quite simply, it’s illegal for you to be fired or disciplined for making an electric shock claim against your employer following an electric shock accident.
This means that in the unlikely event you do lose your job, or were harassed for bringing a claim for electric shock injury compensation, you’ll be able to take legal action against your employer. The law is there to protect you, so you should not be at risk of losing your job.
It’s also worth noted that the electric shock injury claim itself will not be against the employer personally, but its insurance company, so your employer will simply pass on the claim to the insurer to deal with. In successful electric shock injury compensation claims, the insurance company will make the pay out – it will not come out of the employer’s pocket.
This can be hugely reassuring for injured workers worried about making an electric shock compensation claim against their employer after an electric shock accident at work.
If you are in a position where you feel your life is being made difficult at work because you have made an electric shock claim, or you’re considering making a no win no fee claim, you should consider taking action because you could have an unfair dismissal claim in addition to your electric shock injury claim.
The law is there to protect you, both from electric shock accidents and other accidents at work and from unfair dismissal. We’ll guide you through the process of making your no win no fee electric shock injury claim, partnering you with specialist personal injury lawyers who will give you free legal advice.
You will not have to pay anything unless you win because your personal injury claim will be taken under a no win no fee agreement.
In the year 2019-2020, there were 231 serious workplace electrical injuries and 4 fatal injuries reported to the HSE. There were also more than 15,000 other safety-related electrical incident reported in that period
South Wales Police were fined £95,000 by the HSE after an employee suffered damaged heart muscles after coming came into contact with an exposed live 3-core electrical cable left in a ceiling void.
A voltage as low as 50 volts can cause an electric shock if applied between two parts of the human body
In June 2021 A Scottish window cleaner was electrocuted while testing new cleaning equipment with a colleague. The equipment had been extended but conducted the power from an overhead power cable to both men causing electrocution. Daniel McFarlane, 36, died soon after the electric shock accident and his colleague was seriously injured.
Nexus, the metro operator in Tyne and Wear, was fined £1.5m in spring 2021 following the 2014 death by electrocution of a railway linesman. Nexus admitted breaching health and safety legislation
A worker suffered serious electric burns after an accident at work. He was changing tappings on a transformer serving tanks which melt glass at a Leeds factory. The transformer had not been isolated. The company was fined £30,000
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
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