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Are you at risk of underwater electric shock?

There is no “on season” for those who work on cargo or fishing ships. You can be seriously injured any time of year doing your job. One of the risks you and other New York maritime workers can face is electric shock while working in or near water.

As the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association explains, electricity in the water is an invisible danger. Your employer may have already educated or warned you about this little-known, yet unfortunately common, risk near marinas, docks and boats. Why is it considered an invisible hazard? People are unable to see electricity travel through water, and it can be especially difficult to locate the source of an electrical leak from a boat or dock.

You may be especially at risk if you work near or in water performing hull maintenance, welding or dock repair. This type of work puts you in proximity with electrical wiring that can become faulty and electrify a puddle or body of water. If you are shocked or electrocuted in water, your risks include burns and cardiac arrest, in addition to drowning if your muscles are paralyzed by the electricity and you are unable to swim.

You may reduce your risk by testing the water with an electricity tester before getting in the water and by performing regular maintenance and repairs on boat and dock electrical components. Your employer may be eligible for your compensation if a workplace safety violation contributed to your injuries. This information is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.

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