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 electrical injuries from 1992 – 2020 and fatalities from 2003 – 2020 but mainly focuses on 2011-2020 data.

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Fatal Electrical Injuries

  • There were 126 electrical fatalities in 2020. A 24% decrease over 2019 and the lowest number of electrical fatalities recorded (recording started in 2003)
    • There was a 10% drop in total hours worked in the United States in 2020
  • Contact with / Exposure to electric current accounted for 2.6% of all fatalities in 2020. This is a 19% drop from 2019 and a return to 2017 levels.
  • Electrical fatality rates were 0.09 fatalities per 100,000 workers (22% drop from 2019) in 2020, the rate for all fatalities was 3.5 per 100,000 workers in 2020, slightly above the 2019 rate.
  • The mining industry had the highest rate of fatal electrical injuries (0.8 / 100,000) followed by the construction industry (0.6 / 100,000) in 2020. All industries had 0.1 fatalities per 100,000 workers.
  • In 2020, 5.3% of all electrical incidents were fatal.
  • The number of electrical fatalities varies between ages
    • 7% of electrical fatalities occurred in workers aged 20 – 24
    • 33% of electrical fatalities occurred in workers aged 25 – 34
    • 21% of electrical fatalities occurred in workers aged 34 – 44
    • 18% of electrical fatalities occurred in workers aged 45 – 54
    • 17% of electrical fatalities occurred in workers aged 55 – 64
  • Hispanic or Latino workers accounted for 40% of electrical fatalities. A 24% increase over 2019. Hispanic or Latino workers account for 18% of the workforce.
  • “Constructing, Repairing, Cleaning” accounted for the leading worker activity for electrical fatalities at 64%. “Using or Operating Tools, Machinery” accounted for 22% of electrical fatalities.
  • 33% of all electrical fatalities occurred at a private residence. Industrial places and premises accounted for another 31% of fatalities. Streets and highway accounted for 13%, public buildings accounted for 8%, and farm for 7%
  • Occupations involved in electrical fatalities:
    • Construction and Extraction Occupations: 44%
    • Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations: 20%
    • Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations: 13%
    • Transportations and Material Moving Occupations: 6%
    • Management Occupations: 5%
    • Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations: 3%
  • Private industry accounted for 154 (94%) of the electrical fatalities.

Nonfatal Electrical Injuries

  • There were 2,220 non-fatal electrical injuries involving days away from work. This was a 17% increase over 2019 and returning to the same levels as 2017.
  • 0.19% of all nonfatal injuries resulting in days away from work could be attributed to electricity during 2018. In 2019, 0.21% could be attributed to electricity. A total of 1,176,340 workplace injuries occurred in 2020, of these cases, 33.2 percent (390,020 cases) were categorized as other diseases due to viruses not elsewhere classified, which includes reported COVID-19-pandemic related illnesses.
  • Age of worker involved in non-fatal electrical injury:
    • 16 – 19 years old: 2%
    • 20 – 24 years old: 22%
    • 25 – 34 years old: 24%
    • 35 – 44 years old: 22%
    • 45 – 54 years old: 16%
    • 55 – 64 years old: 7%
    • 65 years and over: 1%
  • 13% of electrical injuries occurred in Hispanic or Latino workers, compared to 40% of fatalities
  • Occupation of worker involved in non-electrical injury:
    • Installation, Maintenance, and Repair: 31%
    • Service: 25%
    • Construction and Extraction: 21%
    • Production: 11%
    • Transportation and Material Moving: 5%
    • Management, Business, Financial: 2%
    • Sales and related: 1%
    • Healthcare Practitioners and Technical: 1%
    • Computer, Engineering and Science: 1%
    • Office and Administrative Support: 1%
  • 65% of injuries occurred in service providing industries while 35% occurred in good producing industries
  • Length of service with employer when injury occurred:
    • Less than 3 Months: 26%
    • 3 Months to 11 Months: 10%
    • 1 year to 5 Years: 32%
    • More Than 5 Years: 31%
  • Days when non-fatal electrical injury occurred:
    • Sunday: 3%
    • Monday: 11%
    • Tuesday: 33%
    • Wednesday: 14%
    • Thursday: 27%
    • Friday: 4%
    • Saturday: 8%
  • Hours worked when non-fatal injury occurred:
    • Less than 1 hour: 2%
    • 1 – 2 Hours: 9%
    • 2 – 4 Hours: 15%
    • 4 – 6 Hours: 32%
    • 6 – 8 Hours: 10%
    • 8 – 10 Hours: 4%
    • 10 – 12 Hours: 1%
    • Not Reported: 27%
  • The median number of days away from work for nonfatal electrical injuries was 3 in 2020, a 66% decrease from 2020.
    • Median days away from work:
      • Direct Exposure to Electricity, 220 Volts or less: 3
      • Direct Exposure to Electricity, Greater than 220 Volts: 7
      • Indirect Exposure to Electricity, 220 Volts or Less: 5
      • Indirect Exposure to Electricity, Greater than 220 Volts: 0
    • The industries with the leading number of nonfatal electrical injuries:
      • Construction: 20%
      • Accommodation and Food Services: 22%
      • Wholesale Trade: 17%
      • Manufacturing: 14%
    • Electrical shocks accounted for 1,610 of the non-fatal electrical injuries while burns accounted for 620.