Most people associate electrocution with workplace accidents, in which a powerful jolt of electricity from machinery or powerful equipment injures or kills a worker. While nine percent of workplace injuries are indeed caused by electric shocks, electrocution can be caused by a variety of things, including consumer products. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are 70 deaths every year due to electric shocks from consumer products.
Electrocution can also happen in large bodies of water, such as swimming pools and lakes. The tragic deaths of three young women in two separate incidents has drawn important attention to the risk of “electric shock drowning.” The families of the victims involved in these horrific accidents are trying to spread awareness to help keep others safe.
What Is Electric Shock Drowning?
According to news reports, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that electric shock drownings are difficult to track because they are a “silent killer.” Electric shock drowning is caused by a low level of electric current running through a body of water.
The non-profit Electric Shock Drowning Association states, “There is no visible warning or way to tell if water surrounding boat, marina or dock is energized or within seconds will become energized with fatal levels of electricity.” Experts also say that electric shock drowning is more common in freshwater, where electricity can “shortcut” through the human body.
In one case, a 15-year-old girl drowned after being electrocuted when a metal ladder touched water around a dock where a light switch was half full of water. The electrical current ran from the light switch to the ladder and into the surrounding water.
In a separate incident, two women were killed after they went sunbathing and swimming in a lake. Autopsy reports revealed that the women were electrocuted.
How to Prevent Electric Shock Drowning
The family of the teenager who died due to electrocution while swimming now actively works to promote awareness of the rare phenomenon. They say there are several ways to make swimming safer:
- Use a plastic ladder in the water rather than a metal one.
- If you feel any tingling on your skin while swimming, swim away from any dock, as this is the most likely source of the electricity. Exit the water immediately.
- Check all wiring around the dock, including the ground fault circuit breaker.
You can also purchase devices that detect electricity on a dock and in the water around it.
Philadelphia Burn Injury Lawyer Discusses Electrocution Accidents
Philadelphia burn injury lawyer Rand Spear explains, “Most people don’t associate swimming with electrocution, but tragic accidents can happen. It’s important for all parents, as well as swimming pool and lake owners, to be aware of the risks and to take steps to minimize them.”
Contact a Philadelphia Burn Injury Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries caused by burns or electrocution, don’t wait to speak to a lawyer. Contact Philadelphia and New Jersey burn injury lawyer Rand Spear today at 877-GET-RAND.