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A Dangerous Trade?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 4th May 2012

When you think of dangerous professions you think of soldiers, deep sea divers, deep sea fishermen, lumberjacks  and so on. However construction did for a very long time have a history of danger and high death rates. In fact if you go back to the early 1900’s in America when large sky scrapers were built death rates were just as high.

However since then a raft of health and safety initiatives and the implementation of building regulations have steadily managed to reduce the number of deaths and the death rates in the industry.

It may surprise many to hear that the most dangerous of the building trades is in fact electrical installation. Most people assume that Gas will be the main killer. If there is a gas explosion you will hear about it on the news as it would normally affect many people, buildings, businesses etc. whereas  incidents involving electricity are more likely to silently kill or injure one electrician with little fuss or public commotion.

*Image Source http://changuru.blogspot.co.uk/

In the UK it is hard to find specific figures of deaths by particular trade. In reality being an electrician is now a very safe profession and in fact there were only 52 deaths in the whole of the construction industry last year. However to give you an idea of the gulf between the trades a study in America using data collated between 1992 – 2003 showed that of 1715 deaths in the period, 586 (34%) were in the electrical trades. The next most dangerous trade was construction workers where 274 (16%) people died.

The majority (92%) of electrical workers were killed by electrical wiring, equipment and overhead power lines. However what is a little more surprising is that the majority of other construction workers (80%) were also killed by electricity with the majority of those killed by overhead power lines. This demonstrates that electricity is not only a danger to electricians it is also deadly to members of all other trades too.

People are aware of the dangers of electricity but most don’t realise the implications of serious injury or death from simple installation tasks. It is for this reason that the industry is so heavily regulated and will continue to be so.  Year on year deaths in the construction industry continue to drop and death rates also continue to fall.

A recent government drive to cut down the red tape in the building regulations has found that Part P should definitely remain. This is why wiring regulations courses and Part P Training are so important. It’s also why all good electrician’s need to keep up to date with the latest updates to these crucial areas.

When you think about a career in electrics it is important to understand that it is a job which requires a lot of attention to detail as well as the ability to do things properly. Botch jobs just won’t cut it and with the right training and attitude it is very easy to stay safe and stay alive.