ADMIRALTY / MARITIME LAW

The dangers of shipboard electric shock

| Oct 7, 2020 | Injuries, Maritime Law |

Most ships rely on a wide variety of electrical systems for propulsion, steering, navigation, emergency lights and a variety of other systems. In addition, many tools used for repair or maintenance use electricity to function. However, the electricity used to run both systems and equipment could create an invisible danger to anyone on board. What risk does electricity pose on a boat or ship?

Wet conditions make it easy for electricity to travel beyond the ship’s wiring.

While systems on the ship may display warnings about the risk of electric shock, it is essential to consider water’s ability to conduct electricity when repairing or performing maintenance on a ship. Electricity from faulty or damaged wiring can travel through wet fabric, puddles or the water the ship travels through.

Electrical shock can cause injury and increase the risk of drowning.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), electricity can cause a wide variety of different injuries. Burns are one of the most common injuries associated with shipboard electricity, but electric shock can also cause falls and concussions due to arc blasts, cardiac arrest and a variety of other injuries.

Electricity is especially dangerous if you must enter a body of water to perform maintenance on the exterior of a ship. Electric shock can paralyze the muscles, making it impossible to swim and causing what is known as electric shock drowning. Even if water is safe when a person enters it, electricity can turn it into a deadly hazard within seconds.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to electric shock, compensation may be available.