A man in Spring Hill was recently hospitalized with severe electrical burns after he touched a powerline while trimming trees. The accident reminds us that many of the devastating injuries suffered in burn accidents have nothing to do with open fires or flame.
Several new reports by Tampa Bay area media explain that Pasco County Fire Rescue responded to the injured man at his home near the Pasco/Hernando County line on the afternoon of August 19 after he came into contact with a powerline while in a bucket truck.
According to Fox13, “When medics arrived, they found the victim with severe burns, but he was conscious and breathing.” He was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital with severe electrical burns.
What You Should Know About Electrical Burns
Media reports did not say exactly how the injured man was hurt. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides an explanation of these injuries. Here’s how:
- Electric current flows through tissues or bone
- This flow generates heat
- The heat causes tissue damage.
Electrical burns are among the most serious types of burn injury. They require immediate medical attention. Touching overheated electric conductors, conduits (such as powerlines) or other energized equipment causes what are known as “thermal contact burns.” High temperatures caused by an electric arc or explosion near the body can cause “arc” or “flash burns,” which also require immediate medical attention.
University of Florida Health says that the human body conducts electricity well because it is mainly comprised of water. An electrical burn may look minor but cause serious internal damage, especially to the heart, brain, muscle and nerves. Electrical current that reaches the heart can cause cardiac arrest, or a heart attack.
The severity of the injury that a person is likely to experience by coming into contact with electrical current depends on:
- Type and strength of voltage
- Length of contact with the electricity
- How the electricity moved through their body
- The individual’s overall health.
UF Health says symptoms of an electrical burn may include:
- Changes in alertness (consciousness)
- Heart attack (chest, arm, neck, jaw, or back pain)
- Irregular heartbeat
- Broken bones
- Problems with swallowing, vision, or hearing
- Muscle spasms and pain
- Numbness or tingling
- Breathing problems or lung failure
- Skin burns.
Preventing Electrical Burn Injuries
OSHA, which is concerned with job-site safety, says most electrical accidents result from one of the following:
- Unsafe equipment or installation
- Unsafe environment
- Unsafe work practices.
Some ways to prevent electrical accidents are by using insulation, guarding, grounding, electrical protective devices, and safe work practices, the agency says.
When working under or near overhead powerlines, individuals should maintain a safe distance from the lines. For very high-voltage lines, they should ground any equipment, such as bucket trucks, which can become energized.
Individuals not qualified to work with electricity should stay at least 10 feet away from overhead powerlines. When mechanical equipment is operated near overhead lines, people standing on the ground should avoid contact with the equipment.
Why Holliday Karatinos Cares About Electrical Burns
A serious burn injury can exact a terrible physical toll. Medical care for burn injuries can also be complex and costly. Our electrical injury lawyers assist burn injury victims when someone else’s negligence has led to the accident that injured them. Our attorneys assist people by investigating the cause of their accidents to determine whether actionable negligence exists and by pursuing compensation that the injured party deserves.
If you have suffered an electrical burn injury in an accident in Spring Hill or elsewhere in the North Tampa area, contact Holliday Karatinos today for a free consultation and learn more about how we can put more than 50 years of collective legal experience on your side.