Effects of Electrical Current to the Human Body

Electricity is one of the most essential inventions in modern times. Whether at home or in the workplace, electricity is normally used.

The danger of electricity as proven by statistics has caused about 1000 fatalities per year worldwide for the past 15 years. Despite the safety incorporated into the design of electrical equipment and presence of safety regulations governing use of electricity, user knowledge is still essential on the proper use of electrical appliances and machines. This knowledge will also help the medical practitioner in diagnosing and treating victims of electrical related accidents.

Effects of Electrical Current
Although, electricity damaged is indicated by the destruction of skin tissue at the contact location, the more detrimental effect of electric shock is due to the current passing though the body particularly on the nervous system.

Effects of Electrical Current to the Human Body
Current, Ampere Effects
< 0.001 Generally not perceptible
0.001 Faint tingle
0.005 slight shock felt. Not painful but disturbing. Average individual can let go. Strong involuntary reactions can lead to other injuries.
0.006 to 0.025 (women) Painful shocks. Loss of muscle control.
0.009 to 0.030 (men) The freezing current or "let go" range. If extensor muscles are excited by shock, the person may be thrown away from the power source. Individuals cannot let go. Strong involuntary reactions can lead to other injuries.
0.50 to 0.150 Extreme pain, respiratory arrest, severe muscle reactions. Death is possible.
1.0 to 4.3 Rhythmic pumping action of the heart ceases. Muscular contraction and nerve damage occur; death is likely.
10.0 Cardiac arrest, severe burns, death is probable.

Some safety tips:

  1. Only use plugs suitable for the outlet.
  2. Ensure that electrical connections are tight.
  3. Check that the wire insulation is in good condition.
  4. Use extension cords only when necessary and only if they are rated for the application.
  5. Use waterproof cords outdoors.
  6. Follow manufacturer's instructions.
  7. Leave electrical repairs to licensed electricians.
  8. Do not overload outlets.
  9. Do not place cords near heat or water.
  10. Do not run cords in areas where they can be damaged.
  11. Avoid touching anything electric with wet hands.
  12. Do not use temporary wiring in place of permanent wiring.
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About the Author

Ver Pangonilo
A Filipino Engineer, Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) - Australia and Professional Electrical Engineer (PEE) - Philippines with extensive experience in concept select, front-end engineering, HV & LV detail design, construction and commissioning of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Area electrical installations in water and waste water pipeline and pumping facilities, offshore platforms, hydrocarbon process plants and pipelines including related facilities. Hazardous area classification and design certification (UEENEEM015B, UEENEEM016B, UEENEEM017B).
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