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What Injuries Are Caused by Electrical Arc Flashes and Blasts?

What Injuries Are Caused by Electrical Arc Flashes and Blasts?When you think of poor workplace safety, you probably think of damaged machinery and wet floors. Both of these can be incredibly dangerous, but few workplace hazards can be as catastrophic as malfunctioning electrical panels or wiring.

When there is a problem with electrical equipment or the material that houses it, you can get seriously hurt or killed from an arc blast or flash. If you or have been seriously hurt, or your loved one has died as a result of injuries sustained in an arc flash or explosion, you may be entitled to benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation program. Speak with a Chattanooga workers’ compensation attorney at Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law to learn more.

What causes electrical arc blasts and flashes?

An arc flash, per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is “a phenomenon where a flashover of electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another, or to ground.” Arc flashes are typically the result of an arc fault explosion, and they put out substantial light and heat. Arc blasts are pressure waves that result from that same explosion.

According to the power management company EATON, arc flashes can be caused by:

  • Accidental contact with live wires by workers
  • Testing and troubleshooting live equipment
  • Installing and operating live equipment
  • Poor condition of equipment (including wiring and insulation)
  • Improperly maintained equipment and tools

They can also be caused by dust and corrosion.

What are the dangers of arc fault explosions?

Arc fault explosions can be deadly. The resulting arc flashes can produce temperatures up to 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Those temperatures are hot enough to burn everything in their wake, including protective gear. In addition to the enormous amount of heat, there are large amounts of poisonous fumes and light that can be released into the air.

An arc blast, on the other hand, can produce enough pressure to throw a grown person across a room. It can cause significant structural damage to anything that surrounds it, which can put other workers at risk, too.

What injuries are caused by arc fault explosions?

Arc flashes and blasts can lead to serious injuries like burn injuries, ruptured ear drums, broken bones, brain injuries, and instant death. Employees can also suffer lung damage if they inhale any poisonous fumes, smoke, or ash. If there is a large amount of light exposed in the atmosphere, employees can also suffer blindness.

Seeking compensation for an arc fault explosion

If you have suffered an injury from an arc fault explosion on the job, you deserve to be compensated by your employer. You can do so by filing a workers’ compensation claim for your injuries. In order to file a claim, you will need to follow the Tennessee workers’ compensation process:

  • Choose a doctor from a panel of three provided by your employer
  • Schedule an appointment for evaluation and treatment by that doctor (expenses covered by your employer)
  • Request a copy of the signed Form C-42

Who is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance?

Under Tennessee law, companies that employ five or more full-time employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. If you work in the mining or construction industries, your employer must carry this insurance even if you are the sole employee. If you believe that your company should have workers’ compensation insurance but doesn’t, you need to speak with a Chattanooga workers’ compensation attorney immediately.

Benefits you can receive when injured on the job

If it is agreed upon that the injury occurred on the job, you are entitled to a handful of benefits at no cost to you. These benefits include medical treatment, expenses for travel to medical treatment if you must travel more than 15 miles one way, and temporary disability benefits.

Temporary disability benefits are paid when you cannot work. These benefits are activated once the doctor rules you cannot return to work and must be activated by the eighth day of your disability. Should your disability last longer than 14 days, the benefits will be paid back to the first day of the disability.

The rate paid to injured workers is typically two-thirds of your average salary that was earned for the 52 weeks prior to you suffering the injury. The benefits are paid by the insurance company of your employer and not the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

You could be eligible for partial disability benefits if you can work, but have to perform reduced tasks due to your injury, which lowers your wages. If your employer assigns you to light duty work and you fail to attend work or perform light duties, you risk losing temporary disability benefits.

My claim was denied; what’s next?

If your workers’ compensation claim was denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. A denial means that the insurance adjuster felt your injury either did not occur at work or was not serious enough to warrant missed time or compensation. If this is the case, you can appeal the decision with the assistance of a workers’ compensation attorney and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. It is important to note that your employer cannot fire you for reporting an injury that occurred on the job. If you are terminated, you might be eligible to file a wrongful termination claim against your employer.

When you have been seriously hurt in a workplace accident, reach out to a Chattanooga workers’ compensation attorney at Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law. We genuinely want to help you receive the compensation that you deserve. Give our lawyers a call today at 423-756-7923, or submit our contact form to schedule your free consultation. We represent injured workers from Chattanooga, Cleveland, TN and North Georgia.