Electricity has long been recognized as a serious workplace hazard. In addition to posing a direct risk of fatality and serious injury, it can serve as trigger for a chain reaction of events leading to more injuries and deaths. Thus, everyone who works on and around electrical equipments must know what the dangers and what steps can be taken to make sure that all are protected from these dangers.
Electrical Safety - recognizing hazards associated with the use of electrical energy and taking precautions so that hazards do not cause injury or deaths. (NFPA 70E - 1995)
Electrical Hazards - a dangerous condition, such that inadvertent or unintentional contact, or equipment failure, can result in shock, arc flash burn, thermal burn or blast.
Injury that may result from while working on or around electrical hazards:
- Electrical shock
- Burns from contact, arc or flashes
- Impact from blasts
Critical Path of Current on Human Body. The critical path of electricity through the body is through the chest cavity. Current flowing from one hand to the other, from a hand to the opposite foot, or from the head to either foot will pass through the chest cavity paralyzing the respiratory or heart muscles, initiating ventricular fibrillation and/or burning vital organs.
Severity of Electrical Shock
The severity of electrical shock that a person will experience depends on the following factors:
- Source voltage
- Body resistance
- Current capacity of the source
- The path that current takes through the body
- The duration of exposure