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Electric shock

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)

Electric shock is established when our body behaves as a part of the circuit, offering a way for the current pass. This way is the one which offers less resistance.

It can have many causes, such as: contact with wires or sources energized, insulation failure, nature disturbances, accidental energizing, maneuver mistakes, electric arc (arc usually comes with severe burns, due to large amount of heat released).

Workers with metal plates in the body and/or electronic devices (pacemakers) should keep away from electromagnetic fields generated by high voltage, because this field can increase the temperature of metallic elements or cause disruptions in electronic circuits.

Our body is composed of 80% of water, which is a conductor (because of the minerals). Except our skin (high resistance), our body is interiorly propitious to receive an electric shock. Note that our muscular and nervous system is naturally guided by electric impulses.

Depending on the state of our skin, if we were exposed to low voltages, we would not suffer by an electric shock, but if our skin were sweated (less resistance), for example, we would.

Another danger is if the skin is breached. Happening this, the equivalent resistance of our body would be lower, what it would increase electric current.

Electric current type: some people say that AC is more dangerous than DC, because it makes the victim stay holding the conductor (muscles contract without stopping).
Frequency: just for AC. Higher frequencies tend to be less dangerous than lower ones.

Current intensity: number of electric particles that pass through the area of the conductor per second. The more the intensity, the more the dangerous.
Time exposed: maybe the most important factor. It is the amount of time the victim stays on the shock condition.
Way through the body: it is also important. The hand-to-hand way, for example, is very dangerous, because it could affect the heart and the lungs.
Voltage: for the same conditions, as voltage increases, electric current increases too.
Resistance: as I said, depending on the resistance, the electric shock will be more dangerous (low resistances).

To avoid the occurrence of shocks, we always must:

  • Use conserved and appropriate IPE (individual protection equipments). Remember that the company is obliged to supply and stimulate the use of these IPE.
  • Use tools mentioned in Regulatory Norms, and according to voltage.
  • Avoid the use of personal metals.
  • Plan all work to be done.

Electric shock also have its benefits:

  • The electric-convulsing shock was used in the treatment of schizophrenia.
  • Taser is a gun that fires two darts energized with high voltage.
  • Beauty produts that promise to substitute exercises by stimulating muscles (with electric impulses).
  • Defibrillator deliveries a therapeutic electric shock to the heart.

Always reminder:

Your family is your most valuable thing.

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