OSHA authorized the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, to develop the 70E standard in 1976 due to the sheer numbers of lives lost due to electrocution and arc flash incidents. Though the exact numbers of injuries and deaths from electrocution and arc flash are unknown due to inconsistencies in reporting, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that combined, they result in over 400 fatalities and nearly 10,000 serious injuries each year. Arc flash incidents alone are estimated to occur 5 to 10 times each day, resulting in a fatality every workday. Contact with energized electrical components is the 4th leading cause of death in construction and represents 9 percent of all construction-related fatalities.
With so many deaths occurring annually, it would appear that the estimated 10,000 or more survivors of electrical shock and arc flash incidents represent the “lucky ones”… if you consider living with severe scaring, disfigurement, dismemberment, blindness, hearing loss and a host of other permanently disabling injuries “lucky.”