Michigan OSHA Announces Initiative To Help Prevent Workplace Electrocutions

                               Lansing, MI (CompNewsNetwork) - One of the most tragic events in the workplace occurs when an employee is killed or seriously injured on the job. MIOSHA has investigated 63 electrocution fatalities in general industry and construction in the 10-year period from 2001 through 2010.

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) is launching a Preventing Electrocutions Initiative to eliminate fatalities caused by electrical hazards. The MIOSHA program is part of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG).

"One worker death is too many. Every worker in Michigan has the right to go home healthy and whole, every day" said MIOSHA Director Doug Kalinowski. "Electrocutions can be greatly reduced when employers follow MIOSHA rules and apply effective worker safeguards in every worksite where electrical hazards are present."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of electrocutions nationally during 2008-2009 was 360. The leading occupations experiencing electrocutions were: Construction and Extraction Occupations (170); Installation, Maintenance and Repair Occupations (74); Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations (32); and Production Occupations (27).

Electrocutions are Preventable 
MIOSHA is launching this proactive initiative to increase awareness about electrocutions in construction and general industry workplaces and to remind employers they are required to provide the appropriate protection and training to employees exposed to electrical hazards.

The MIOSH Act requires employers to provide "a workplace free of recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to the employees." The purpose of MIOSHA safety and health rules is to set minimum requirements and provide guidelines for identifying and correcting the hazards contributing to injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

As part of the initiative, MIOSHA developed three fact sheets to highlight the information and resources available to help employers protect their workers from electrical hazards: 
  • Preventing Electrocutions Fact Sheet - provides details on recent electrocutions in Michigan and the most prevalent electrocution violations. 
  • Electrical Incidents: Contact with Power Lines - Construction Fact Sheet - details the equipment most likely to contact power lines and how to avoid the hazards. 
  • Electrical Shock Hazards - General Industry Fact Sheet - covers the common causes of electrical shocks and how to prevent them.

MIOSHA urges proactive attention to safety and health diligence in all workplaces to eliminate needless deaths. Effective worker safeguards must be applied at every jobsite.

Fatal accidents can be prevented when employers develop and implement safety and health management systems. A proactive safety and health system includes not only following MIOSHA rules, but emphasizes these five elements: 

  • Management commitment and planning, 
  • Employee involvement, 
  • Workplace analysis, 
  • Hazard prevention and control, and 
  • Safety and health training.

MIOSHA Prevention Resources 
The MIOSHA Consultation Education and Training (CET) Division has consultants available to provide employers with assistance in creating safety and health systems, developing accident prevention programs, and implementing long-term safety and health solutions. Companies can call the CET Division at 517.322.1809 for consultation services, training opportunities, and other safety and health needs, or visit us online at

MIOSHA Training Institute (MTI) has several courses scheduled this fiscal year on General Industry Safety Standards Part 39 and Part 40, and the construction electrical safety course, "Electricity, The Invisible Killer." All MTI course information is online at www.michigan.gov/mti.

For information on MIOSHA standards, companies and employees can contact the Construction Safety and Health Division at 517.322.1856, the General Industry Safety and Health Division at 517.322.1831, or visit our website at

"MIOSHA's goal is to help prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities and to ensure that effective tools and training are available to employers," said Kalinowski. "We encourage employers to use all available resources, including MIOSHA outreach services, to protect their workers from electrical hazards."

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