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Some simple ways to Avoid Electrical Accidents

  • Install GFI receptacles within the bathroom, kitchen and outside if there are only normal plugs on these circuits;

  • Don't use any extension cord or appliance cord that is cut or frayed;

  • Don't allow electrical cords in contact with water;

  • Have a qualified electrician regularly check the household's electrical systems, extension leads and appliances, particularly electric blankets and those appliances with metal cases;

  • Make sure that a light has been switched off before changing the bulb - and do not use your finger to clean the connection;

  • Protect power points from the probing of children;

  • Replace worn electrical leads, particularly those on electric irons;

  • Ground your generator before operating it; 

  • When attaching your generator to your house it is important that the two power leads as well as common line be disconnected from the grid. Failure to do so is against wiring code and could electrocute a power worker repairing the power lines; 

  • NEVER touch a fallen power line; 

  • Think "safety" when doing anything associated with electricity.

If an Electrical Accident Occurs

Do not touch the victim unless you are sure that the victim is not still in contact with the electrical hazard or that the electricity has been switched off. Remember to check for "wire, fire, gas, glass" to protect yourself from any hazards before touching the victim. If you are unsure of how do this, get qualified help without delay.

If the victim has been removed from all above hazards, check for breathing and pulse. If breathing or pulse absent, call for help and initiate CPR without delay.

Electricity and the Human Body

Water makes up most of the human body, thus making the body an electrical conductor. If a person touches an electrically energized object (such as a bare wire or faulty equipment) and the person is touching the ground, electricity will pass through the person to ground. Depending on the voltage of the electricity, the frequency of the AC supply, the magnitude of the current flowing through the body and the amount of time the current is flowing, the result can range from a slight tingle to a harmful and potentially fatal electrical shock.

The critical path of electricity through the human body is through the chest cavity. A current flowing from one hand to the other, or from a hand to the opposite foot, or from the head to either foot will pass through the chest cavity and could paralyze the respiratory or heart muscles (thus initiating ventricular fibrillation), cardiac arrest and/or burning of vital organs. Electricity passing through any area of the body can result in burns caused by the current flowing in tissues. Damage can be at the skin surface or deeper within the body, or both.

Home Contact Us Contents Safety Emergency Planning C EPA  Regulations Leasing Electricity

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Last modified: April 17, 2010