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.


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

It could save your life...

or the lives of people you care about!