1186 Psychological consequences of electrical accidents at work. interviews with swedish electricians

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Abstract

Introduction

It is well known that electrical accidents can cause physical injury. Less well known is that long-term consequences may include emotional and cognitive problems. The objective was to explore electricians’ experiences and perceptions of work-related electrical accidents, with focus on psychological short- and long-term consequences, including how contacts with health care services and the workplace had been perceived.

Methods

Semi-structured interviews with 23 Swedish male electricians, aged 25–68, who had experienced at least one electrical accident and who had reported residual sensory, muscular, or mental symptoms. Data was analysed by means of qualitative content analysis, with the analysis keeping close to the areas of query and the electricians’ statements.

Result

Immediate emotional reactions included surprise, confusion, fear, anxiety, and anger, but also long-term consequences in terms of psychological dysfunction were seen. Experiencing a no-let-go situation was particularly stressful. The cause of the accident, and questions about guilt and blame, were central in the aftermath. Lack of knowledge and routine among health care professionals concerning electrical injury was reported, as well as lack of medical and psychological follow-up.

Discussion

Long-term psychological consequences can be seen after occupational electrical accidents. Adequate handling at the workplace and from the health care services, including follow-up, could facilitate rehabilitation and return-to-work.

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