If you are involved in a workplace accident that involves electrocution, the injuries you sustain can be severe. In addition to nerve damage, burn injuries, and disruption of the central nervous system, electrical accidents on the job can potentially contribute to cardiac events. If there is no immediate cardiac event, there is a potentially heightened risk for heart problems in the aftermath of the electrocution.
While these instances are rare, it’s very important that these matters be kept in mind, particularly for electricians or any workers who are near wires or power lines. The San Francisco, CA work injury lawyers at Smith & Baltaxe, LLP would like to cover some cardiac events associated with electrical accidents.
Ventricular Fibrillation (VFib)
VFib is a potentially fatal type of cardiac event. When VFib occurs, the lower chambers of the heart cannot pump blood. The heart may wind up stopping, unable to continue pumping blood when this occurs. Given the nature of the condition, VFib can lead to cardiac arrest and death. VFib occurs when the electrical activity of the heart is disrupted.
When VFib occurs, it’s important that the person get immediate medical attention. Immediate response can mean the difference between life and death.
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
AFib is not immediately life-threatening like VFib, though it does increase a person’s risk for a heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and other cardiac events later in life. This type of heart problems affects the activity of the upper chambers of the heart. Like VFib, AFib is also caused by a diruption of normal electrical activity.
When AFib occurs, it’s important to seek medical attention. With regard to electrocution accidents, it’s a good idea to have your heart activity checked following the incident even if you did not seem to experience an irregular heartbeat at the time.
Risks to Veins and Arteries
In addition to the effects on the heart, electrocutions can also have a negative effect on the health of veins and arteries. Following an electrical accident, veins and arteries may be completely damaged. You might also run a higher risk of poor vein and artery function. Blood clots and other conditions may be more likely.
Medical Monitoring After an Electrical Injury
When an electrical accident causes VFib or AFib, the accident victim is not in the clear even if they survived the injury and seem generally in good health. The long term effects of an electrical injury can be unpredictable.
Given the potential health risks, victims of electrocution accidents should undergo regular medical monitoring of their heart for at least 12 months after the incident. Additionally, these individuals should avoid undergoing elective surgery for at least 6 months after their accident.
Safety Precautions to Prevent Electrocution
Whenever you’re working around electrical equipment or wiring, it’s important to observe OSHA safety standards. Some common sense safety tips can also help.
- Completely de-energize electrical equipment before making any adjustments or repairs
- Make sure any and all electrical tools and equipment are in good condition
- Wear proper protective attire (e.g., gloves, boots, goggles)
- Guard and/or insulate electrical wiring and lines when required
If your workplace was not safe or your supervisors/employers were negligent in providing a safe work environment, it’s important that you discuss a potential lawsuit with a work injury attorney.
Learn More About Your Legal Options
For more information about your legal options following an electrical injury, be sure to contact our team of injury accident attorneys. The lawyers of Smith & Baltaxe, LLP will fight for you in your time of legal need.