Hand-held power tools are commonplace at most construction sites in Minnesota. They help workers accomplish their jobs efficiently and, oftentimes, even more safely than had the workers relied on hand tools.
However, these tools do come with risks of their own. One of these risks is the risk of electrical shock. A severe electrical shock can cause a serious injury or even death by electrocution. Moreover, even a relatively mild shock can stun a worker long enough to lose his or her balance and fall from a high place or be unable to get out of the way of a dangerous condition.
There are certain steps employees and their supervisors can take to protect against electric shock. For instance, a worker should not be standing in or around water when using a power tool. In other situations, the tool itself gets worn down within its critical components, and that greatly increases the risk of a surprise shock, even when a worker is taking all safety precautions.
While some electrical shocks are hard to avoid, premature tool breakdown may be traced back to a design flaw or manufacturing defect in the tool. Detailed regulations apply that require tool makers and others to take steps to make sure that these products do not cause electrical shock.
Construction workers in Minnesota who get hurt either directly or indirectly due to an electrical shock from a tool will likely be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits. Moreover, they may be able to pursue additional claims against the tool manufacturer and those others who had an obligation to prevent electrical accidents with the tools.