Electricity, simply put, is a concentrated flow of electrons from one point to another. Electrocution occurs when we interrupt a closed circuit of electricity by touching it with any uninsulated part of our bodies, most commonly our hands or feet. The high concentration of water in our organs and flesh makes an excellent conductor, so electricity will travel through our bodies as if it were a new part of the circuit.
A high concentration of electricity is not something that our bodies are naturally equipped to handle, and the flow of energy will cause serious and potentially life-threatening harm to the victim. The severity of damage from the shock corresponds directly to the voltage, amperage, pathway and duration of the jolt. If a high-voltage shock travels through a victim’s heart for an extended period of time, such as when a power line worker accidentally makes contact with a high voltage wire, survival is very unlikely.
Electrocution was the second deadliest force for workers in 2014, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In 2014, 899 construction workers died while on the job, which is over 20 percent of the total worker death count for that year. Of these 899 deaths, electrocution was the second-leading cause of death, responsible for 74 construction worker fatalities.