The four factors in an electric shock

The four factors in an electric shock


Electricity is a
phenomenal form of energy, and it’s perfectly safe
when used correctly. But when it comes into contact
with conductive material, electricity travels at lightning speed. Water, metal, or even your
body can be a conductor if you were to come into
contact with a bare or damaged wire, or unprotected equipment. Electricity will always
be faster than you! That’s why you need to
avoid situations where you might come into
contact with electricity. An electric shock can cause:
Tickling or tingling, muscle spasms, serious burns or even a heart attack. Why are there so many variations? Whenever you’re in a dangerous
situation involving electricity, four shock factors
immediately come into play. Voltage resistance, path and duration. Voltage can vary from just
a few volts to more than 735,000. Still, even a low-voltage
current can cause serious harm. Your body’s resistance
to electricity can vary, depending on whether your
skin is damp or dry. How the electricity
flows through your body will have a major impact on
the degree of electrical shock. There’s a far bigger risk of internal
injury when the current travels through your heart as opposed to just
jumping from finger to finger. Contact can last for
just a few milliseconds or more than a second. But even a few milliseconds
is enough to injure you. The severity of the electric shock
is determined by the combination of the various shock factors. It’s impossible to predict exactly what
the outcome will be before the accident. And it all happens in a flash! Electricity will always
be faster than you! There’s no such thing as a “safe
shock” where electricity is concerned. But there’s an easy way to prevent
accidents: avoid dangerous situations. Paul’s Story. Danger near power lines. Paul thinks there’s too
much shade in his backyard. He’ll fix that. It won’t take long. Paul didn’t spot the danger
before starting work. As it fell, the branch came into
contact with a medium-voltage line. This type of wire is bare; it
doesn’t have an insulating sheath. Let’s see what our shock factors say: The voltage level is medium:
in this case, 12,000 volts. The sap in the branch
conducts electricity. Paul has been sweating,
so his skin is also damp. And his ladder is made of metal. Resistance to the current is low. The current traveled through the branch,
entered Paul’s body through his hand and exited through his hip, then continued through
the ladder to the ground. All of this happened in just a second. The outcome? A serious electric shock leading to
burns, the amputation of one arm and the loss of part of his liver, plus broken bones from
falling off the ladder. Things could have been even worse
if his saw had touched the line! Avoiding accidents is simple. Locate power lines BEFORE starting any
work or activity involving heights. Stay at a safe distance. And make sure nothing
gets close to the lines: No tools, ladders, scaffolding or kites. Nothing. Most electrical accidents happen
when we’re distracted or in a rush. To stay safe, be aware of
the dangerous situations that pose a risk of electrical contact. Take a second to have a look at our
site www.hydroquebec.com/safety It could save your life… or the lives of people you care about!