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236 people killed in electrical accidents in 2021-22

Electrical accidents claimed the lives of 236 people and 88 animals in 2021-22 in Kerala, data compiled by the Department of Electrical Inspectorate shows.

The human casualties included 214 members of the public and nine permanent and 13 contract employees of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). While 133 people died in reported electrical accidents at consumer premises, 100 died in accidents related to KSEB facilities. Three deaths are due to electrocution in industrial premises.

Thirty-six human lives were lost during the exercise after tools such as iron rods, used to pick fruit from trees, and iron ladders came into contact with electricity. Fourteen people and 51 animals died after coming into contact with broken conductors.

152 injured

As many as 152 people were injured in non-fatal electrical accidents during this period. Unauthorized electric fences claimed the lives of seven people and injured three. Two animal deaths were also attributed to unauthorized electric fencing.

The death toll was highest in Palakkad (27 people), followed by Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram, 25 each.

Although the figures for 2021-2022 seem high, they have not shown any significant increase or decrease compared to previous years, data from the Electricity Inspectorate over the past 12 years reveals. A total of 262 people died and 187 were injured in electrical accidents in 2008-09 in Kerala. In 2019-20, the numbers were 222 and 149 respectively, and 242 and 163 in 2020-21.

Iron bars

”A slight increase is noted in the number of accidents due to the contact of the iron rods used to pick the fruit with the catenaries. At the same time, awareness campaigns on safe use of electricity have helped a lot in preventing an increase in the death toll,” said Anil Kumar VC, Chief Electricity Inspector, Government of Kerala.

Animal mortality on the rise

In contrast, data on animal deaths due to electric shocks show an upward trend. The death toll in 2021-22 (88 animals) is the highest in the past 12 years. From 57 in 2008-09, the record had risen to 78 in 2018-19, but fell to 60 and 61 in 2019-20 and 2020-21. The majority of these deaths were reported during events related to natural disasters when power lines broke, according to officials from the Electricity Inspectorate.

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