As part of National Electrical Safety Month this May, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is spearheading an information campaign in an effort to reduce the number of electrically related fires, fatalities, injuries and property losses.
In an April 2022 report, ESFI published data about fatal and nonfatal occupational electrical injuries. The report drew on information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) annual Census on Fatal Occupational Injuries and Survey of Occupational Injuries. The most recent data from the BLS census includes electrical injuries from 1992-2020 and fatalities from 2003-2020, with a primary focus on data from 2011-2020.
The data shows a downward trend in electrical fatalities. Specifically, there was a 24% decrease in 2020 over the previous year, with 126 fatalities marking the lowest number since ESFI started collecting data in 2003.
In 2020, 5.3% of all electrical incidents were fatal. While every industry included in the report had a fatality rate of at least 0.1 per 100,000 workers, the industries that sustained the highest number of fatalities were mining and construction. Most fatalities (64%) were sustained while workers engaged in constructing, repairing or cleaning activities. Only 22% were due to using or operating tools or machinery.
Despite the decrease in the number of fatalities, in 2020, electrical injuries increased 17% over the previous year. In total, there were 2,220 nonfatal electrical injuries last year, 0.19% of which resulted in days away from work. The accommodation and food services industry experienced the most nonfatal electrical injuries (22%), with construction a close second at 20%.
By promoting electrical safety, particularly during National Electrical Safety Month, ESFI hopes to prevent avoidable incidents in schools, homes, and the workplace.
This year, ESFI’s campaign theme is “Energy Resilience,” with a focus on how emerging technology—including photovoltaics, electric vehicles, and energy storage systems—offer energy resilience to businesses and residences.