Amid national increase, US Department of Labor urges Midwest employers to emphasize electrical safety after 4 workplace deaths in Missouri, Kansas
KANSAS CITY, MO ‒ Electrical hazards killed four workers in Missouri and Kansas in five months in 2021. In Missouri, on Oct. 4, a 40-year-old electrical contractor replacing light fixtures in Sedalia. On Sept. 23, a 22-year-old worker cleaning a Higbee pig barn with a pressure washer. In Wichita, Kansas, a 41-year-old doing heating and air conditioning work on July 13, and a month earlier, a 35-year-old electrical contractor climbing a pole in Lawrence, Kansas, on June 8. Their stories and circumstances may differ, but the cause of death is the same – electrocution.
While the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration continues its investigations of these employer-reported deaths, the agency is alerting all employers to review safe electrical work practices with their employees in response to a nationwide increase in workplace deaths by electrocution.
Nationally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 3.75 percent increase – 166 workplace deaths related to electrocution – in 2019 over the previous year. From Nov. 6, 2018, through Oct. 3, 2021, OSHA investigated 12 electrical-related deaths in Missouri and Kansas.
“Recent tragedies in Missouri and Kansas are reminders of the danger of electrical exposures in the workplace,” said OSHA’s Acting Regional Administrator Billie Kizer in Kansas City, Missouri. “OSHA’s electrical standards are designed to protect employees from electric shock and electrocution. Employers should implement safety and health programs, and are required to train workers on identifying hazards and use required protective measures to ensure all employees end each workday safely.”
OSHA also has a local emphasis program in the St. Louis area for electrical hazards in industry and an alliance agreement to promote electrical safety with the Iowa Department of Workforce Development and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 55.
Employers can also use OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program that offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. Each state has its own program. Visit: