Posted in Career Insights
how dangerous is being an electrician

Electricians are consistently exposed to the dangers of electricity throughout their workday.

From power lines to hazardous equipment, there are a number of ways an electrician may get injured.

The extreme variety of job sites and working conditions are what make a job as an electrician risky, not necessarily the exposure to electricity.

So how dangerous is being an electrician?

Electrician Injury Statistics

To fully understand the risks involved with electrician work, it’s best to look at the data for injuries and fatalities associated with the job. While working with electrical parts is a key component of being an electrician, you may be surprised to learn that there are other common injuries not caused by electricity.

According to a five-year study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly injury rate for electricians between 2016 and the end of 2020 was around 114 per 10,000 workers. While this may not seem like a lot, keep in mind that this study looks at serious injuries that involve several days away from work.

This means that around 1% of all electricians experience a serious injury annually. Additionally, the most common cause of injury is being struck by an object or equipment rather than electrocution.

However, a larger study by the Electrical Safety Foundation provides a bigger picture. Between 2011 and 2022, the ESFI found that 30% of workplace fatalities involving electrical equipment were workers in electrical occupations, including electricians.

In fact, out of all occupations included in the test, electricians accounted for the most electrical-related fatalities, around 195 out of 1,322. However, more electrical deaths happened overall in construction-related positions, like building construction, tree trimming, HVAC, roofing, and others.

Has Electrician Safety Improved?

Yes, being an electrician has become safer over time. According to the same study by the ESFI mentioned above, workplace electrical fatalities have decreased by 1.5% on average year over year. This is also supported by data from the National Fire Protection Association, which started reporting on electrical safety issues as early as the 1970s.

During that decade, the NFPA reported that electrocution was the fifth-leading cause of death in workplace incidents. In total, electrical fatalities accounted for 8% of all work deaths in the US.

However, those numbers have dropped significantly. Between 1980 and 2020, fatalities due to exposure to electricity decreased by 78%. Additionally, injuries requiring days away from work fell by 50%.

So is being an electrician dangerous? According to this data, yes, but not as nearly as dangerous as it was 40 years ago. There have been several safety improvements over the years to combat the risks of working around electrical equipment. This includes comprehensive training, education, and job experience.

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What Are the Dangers and Risks?

Depending on the job, or even the day, electricians might work indoors or outdoors, at homes, businesses, and construction sites.

They often need to crawl into tight spaces or climb up high on a ladder to get to the places where electrical work needs to be done.

Electricians are most often hurt from falls, electrical burns, exposure to toxic materials, and even face increased risks from working in small tight spaces and varying outdoor conditions.


Falls are common for electrical workers who often need to perform work on a rooftop or reach overhead power lines. They also need to access electrical wiring in attics and ceilings. Working in these high places puts an electrician at increased risk of falls.

Electric Shock

Electric shock is one of the most serious injuries faced by an electrician. This type of shock happens when a sudden discharge of electricity runs through a part of the body.

Complications of electric shock can include severe burns, confusion, trouble breathing, interruption of heart rhythm, cardiac arrest, muscle pain and contractions, seizures, loss of consciousness, and even death.


Electrocution occurs in extreme cases of electrical shock that result in death. Even exposure to just a small amount of current can result in death. Although it is a risk, fortunately, electrocution is not as common as other injuries.

Electrical Burns

An electrical burn is a burn to skin or tissues caused by electric shock. Typically damage is only seen on the surface of the skin. However, a more extreme burn can sometimes damage deeper tissue and even nerves.

Working Safely With Electricity

While some tasks performed by an electrician are inherently dangerous, many risks can be avoided by taking proper safety precautions. Safety is a big responsibility for everyone working in the field. One way to reduce accidents and injuries is to closely follow all procedures and safety recommendations outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA). All electricians are required to undergo OHSA training.

An electrician can also do a few simple things to increase their own safety on the job like:

  • Adhering to OSHA procedures. Strict adherence to OSHA procedures and safety recommendations is paramount. Electricians should familiarize themselves with these guidelines, from handling tools to working in specific environments.
  • Turning off the power before starting work. This simple, yet crucial step can prevent accidental electrocution and mitigate the risk of electrical shocks.
  • Using updated personal protective equipment. The right PPE can make a significant difference in safeguarding against potential hazards. From insulated gloves to flame-resistant clothing, electricians should wear appropriate gear that aligns with the specific risks of their tasks.

While the statistics may paint a picture of danger, they also highlight the importance of continuous improvement in safety protocols. This means that if you intend to become an electrician, you must value safety as one of the most important aspects of the job.

Learn More About a Career as an Electrician

Would you like to find out more about what is needed to become an electrician? Take a look at Stratford Career Institute’s convenient and affordable electrician training course online. It can help you decide if you want to pursue a career as an electrician.


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