Twenty Three Years of Electrical Injury Data Shows Substantial Electrical Safety Improvement

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) uses the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) and Survey of Occupational Injuries (SOII) to distill information specifically pertaining to fatal and nonfatal occupational electrical injuries. Each year the ESFI publishes electrical injury information in tabular and graphical form on our website. The most recent data covers the 23 year period from 1992-2015, but mainly focuses on 2003-2015 data.

Fatal electrical injuries

  • The 134 electrical fatalities that occurred during 2015 resumed the long-term trend of reduced electrical fatalities each year after 2014’s increase over 2013.
  • Exposure to electric current remained seventh on the list of occupational exposures leading to fatal on-the-job injury.
  • Once again, electrocutions constituted the vast majority of electrical fatalities while electrical burns of all degrees were responsible for four fatalities.
  • 97% of fatal electrical injuries occurred in the Private sector and 3% in the Government sector.
  • In 2015, 60% of all fatal electrical injuries occurred in the Construction industry. The Construction industry remained the leading source of fatal electrical injuries with 81, more than four times the contribution of the second-highest source, Professional and Business Services.
  • The highest rate of fatal electrical injury occurred in the Utility industry (0.96/100,000), followed closely by the Construction industry (0.90/100,000).
  • The self-employed constituted 20% of all workers suffering a fatal electrical injury 2015.
  • Workers in Private sector industries that produce goods (Natural Resources and Mining, Construction, and Manufacturing) sustained 75% of on-the-job electrical fatalities while workers in the Service providing industries sustained 25%.
  • From 2011 to 2015, workers in the 25 to 34 years age group experienced electrical fatalities at 1 ½ to 2 times the average for all age groups.

Nonfatal electrical injuries

  • Nonfatal electrical injuries resulting in days away from work rose by one third in 2015 over 2014 to 2,480, the highest level since 2009.
  • About one fourth of 1% of all nonfatal injuries resulting in days away from work could be attributed to electricity during 2015. Although a significant source of fatalities, nonfatal electrical injuries remain relatively rare compared to many other injury types.
  • The median number of days away from work for nonfatal electrical injuries was five.
  • Self-employed workers constituted 11% of all workers suffering a nonfatal electrical injury resulting in lost workdays during 2015.
  • Although more electrical burn injuries than electric shock injuries occurred in the Construction industry between 2003 and 2015, that gap is beginning to narrow. The Construction industry saw more electric shock injuries than electrical burn injuries in 2010, 2013, and 2015. In fact, 3 times more electric shock injuries than electrical burn injuries occurred in 2015. The Utility industry continues to see more electrical burn injuries than electrical shock injuries each year except for 2015 when their numbers were approximately equal.
  • The Construction industry rate of nonfatal electrical injury involving days away from work (1.3/10,000) surpassed the Utility industry rate (0.6/10,000) in 2015.
  • In 2015, the Construction industry had a higher rate of electric shock injury (1.0/10,000) than the Utility industry (0.3/10,000). The Utility industry had a significantly improved rate of nonfatal electrical burn injury (0.3/10,000). The Construction industry had the same rate of nonfatal electrical burn injury.