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KU-EHS September Safety Tip: Electric Shock

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

We all rely on electricity - either directly or indirectly - to perform our jobs. Because the risk of electrocution is always present, today we are going to cover some electrical safety basics.

1. True or False? Our bodies are poor conductors of electricity.

  • The human body is a very efficient conductor of electricity.
  • When a person becomes part of an electrical circuit, electric shock can occur.

2. How do electric shocks occur?
A shock occurs when electric current passes through the body, which can happen in several different ways. Specifically, the person must complete the current path with:

  • Another current-carrying conductor
  • Both wires of an electric circuit
  • One wire of an electric circuit and the ground
  • A metal part that has become energized

3. An electric shock can cause anything from a slight tingling sensation to instant death. What factors determine the severity of an electric shock?

  • The amount of current flowing through the body
  • The current’s path through the body
  • The length of time the body remains in the circuit
  • The current’s frequency

4. How can we protect ourselves from electric shock on the job?

  • Report any shocks you receive during work, even if the shock is mild.
  • Inspect all equipment and electrically powered tools for damage prior to use.
  • Check to make sure all electrical tools and devices are properly grounded.
  • “Grounding” a tool or device means intentionally creating a low-resistance path that connects to the earth.
  • Treat all electrical equipment as energized until lockout/tagout procedures are implemented.
  • Use insulated tools in electrical hazard areas. Insulators, such as glass, mica, rubber, or plastic used to coat metals and other conductors, help stop or reduce the flow of electrical current.
  • Use any required personal protective equipment.

Protect Yourself

When it comes to electricity, one mistake could be your last. Don’t risk your life by taking shortcuts with electrical safety.

Report A Safety Concern

Report a concern to KU-EHS

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