Electrical injuries can occur at any time, even from domestic appliances. Remember that anything plugged into a socket usually has 240 volts running through it and this is enough to kill a person if you’re not very careful …
Major injuries can occur from poor practice of electrical safety and home DIY. It’s very important to stay safe when working with electricity; we recommend that you always get a professional in if you’re at all unsure.
Why? Because working with a voltage as low as 50v causes a current to flow that could potentially disrupt the electrical signals between the brain and the muscles. This may lead to problems like stopping the heart beating correctly, irregular breathing and cause muscle spasms. It can, in extreme circumstances, even lead to death.
The first step is to separate the person from the source of electricity as quickly as possible. The best way of doing this is to turn off the supply, for example, by unplugging the appliance if possible, or by turning the mains off at the fuse box. Do you know where the fuse box in your office is? And of course which switch do you use to turn off the sockets?So what can you do in the event of Electric shock? It may not be immediately clear that someone is getting an electric shock. You won’t see smoke pouring from their ears! If you think someone is suffering from electric shock, approach with extreme caution and really look and understand at what’s happening before you intervene.
If this isn’t possible, then try to remove the source of electricity from the person using a piece of insulating material, such as a length of wood. It may sound a bit archaic in this day an age but a simple wooden broom handle really is a great thing to use, because wood is non-conductive.
I know it’s a simple thing to say but never, ever touch the person receiving the electric shock, or you could suffer one too!
Where the person is conscious and seems well, it is still advisable to monitor their condition. The effects of an electric shock may not be immediately obvious. In worst case conditions, an electric shock may lead to a condition known as “electroporation”, where cells within the body rupture, leading to tissue death. Additional problems might include deep-seated burns, muscle damage and broken bones.After removing the person from the source of electricity – and if that person is unconscious – call for an ambulance immediately. Only those with the necessary skill and knowledge should carry out first aid. There should be someone in an office that has been trained in first aid as part of your company’s Health & Safety regulations.
Other injuries include obvious electrical burns. Once an electrical current is sent through the human body, it heats the tissue for as long as the current keeps flowing. This can cause deep burns to the skin that often need major surgery. In some cases, permanently damaging the skin. It is more common that burns are created by higher voltages; however, problems can occur from electricity supplies within the home if the current flows for more than a few fractions of a second.
Using an RCD will help to protect you from dangerous electric shocks. Although it’s not a guarantee of absolute safety, it limits the time current can flow through the body if a person comes into contact with a live source of electricity.We are coming to that time of the year when the garden will need maintenance and we strongly recommend that anyone using electrical appliances in the garden (lawnmower, hedge trimmers etc) ensure that they are protected by an Residual Current Device (RCD), preferably one fitted in the main household fuse box. Alternatively, a dedicated RCD-protected socket or a plug-in RCD should be used.
Until next time …If you’re at all concerned about electrical safety in your office, or need advice on RCD’s at home then please do give me a call on give me a call on 0330 6600264 or click here to ping over an email and I’ll get straight back to you.