Electric Shock: Causes, Symptoms, Safety

Electric Shock: Causes, Symptoms, Safety

Access Doors and Panels on 9th Dec 2020

Electric Shock: Causes, Symptoms, Safety

Working in the construction industry's electrical aspect is a risky job to avoid electric shock injuries that can be very serious and life-altering. An electric shock happens when electrical current touches or flows through the body, and it can have effects that range from none at all to severe injury and even death.

As the holiday season comes, more people will already begin hanging up lights and Christmas trees, involving handling electrical wires and circuits. Everybody must know what electric shock is, what it isn't, what its causes and symptoms are, and how to handle an injury. Awareness about electric shock and everything there is to know about this occurrence will help us in preventing or reducing the extent of electrical injuries, protect ourselves and our loved ones, and know what to do in case a tragedy strikes.

Because you matter to us, Access Doors and Panels wrote this blog to teach you everything that you need to know about electric shock, its causes, symptoms, and how to help ensure your safety.

Going to basics: What is electric shock?

Before anything else, it's important to note that electric shock is not electrocution. And here's why:

When a person is shocked, the person suffers serious, all-too-often life-altering injuries from the electrical charge-- but the victim is still alive and breathing. On the other hand, electrocution is fatal-- this occurs when the victim dies from the electrical load.

Knowing the distinction of these terms is essential because their difference lies between life and death.

What are the causes of electric shock?

So, what are the causes of an electric shock? Electric shock happens when a person is exposed to or comes into contact with an electricity source, whether directly or indirectly, sending an electric current through the body or part of the body. The following are causes of electric shock:

  • Getting into contact with a powerline or electrical arc flash
  • Accidental contact with exposed electrical sources
  • Faulty electrical installations, wiring, and repairs
  • Connection with conductive materials such as metal, growing vegetation, or others exposed to electrical currents, such as a metal ladder touching a powerline or other exposed wire
  • Accidental contact with a fallen power line, or with the ground near a downed powerline
  • Swimming pool pumps or swimming faulty pool lights, unbonded surfaces near a pool, or pool deck outlets that lack GFCI safety devices
  • A shock from unprotected or defective electrical products-- household appliances such as hairdryers and toasters, outlets, power tools, electrical plugs and extension cords, and medical devices
  • A shock from three-prong-to-two-prong grounded plug adapters
  • Lightning from thunderstorms
  • Construction machinery including cranes, scaffolds, lifts, dump trucks, ladders, and long conductive handled tools making contact with power lines
  • Contact with electrical machinery
  • Contact with any electricity-based weapons such as tasers
  • Unauthorized entrance into switch cabinets, step-down transformers, or electrical cabinets
  • No enforcement of Lock Out/Tag Out (LOTO) safety procedures

Other factors may contribute to an electric shock and the severity of the injuries such as the following:

  • Voltage
  • The amperage of the electric current involved
  • The electrical charge pathway in the person's body (e.g., through the head, heart, muscles, hand-to-hand, or eyes and chest)
  • The duration of the victim's contact with the electrical source
  • Victim's health and medical condition before the shock
  • Whether it was a direct (DC) or alternating (AC) contact

What are the electric shock symptoms and injuries that can result from being shocked?

Another important thing that people should know is the most common electric shock symptoms and injuries that result from electrical shock. These are:

  • Heart muscle damage
  • Cardiac arrest, arrhythmia or fibrillation of the heart
  • Brain injuries
  • Deformity at the point of contact
  • Loss of kidney function
  • Respiratory failure
  • Amputation
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Headaches
  • External and internal severe burns
  • Nerve damage
  • Memory loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Paralysis
  • Vision, speech and hearing problems
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Muscle, tendon, and even disc injuries resulting from involuntary contractions when exceeding the "let go" threshold
  • Spine injury or damage to the neck and back happens when the electrical charge forcefully and physically throws the victim
  • Cataracts
  • Secondary injuries caused by post-shock falls
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Muscle pain
  • Compartment syndrome (occurs when muscle damage results in swelling of the person's limbs)
  • Shortness of breath/Chest pain

A victim can also experience muscle pain after the electric shock.

Additionally, a victim can also experience muscle pain from the involuntary contractions or the primary injury after an electric shock. It is quite a common symptom after being shocked. In some cases, the victim may also experience compartment syndrome when there is significant muscle damage. Compartment syndrome or complex regional pain syndrome occurs when the muscle damage results in the swelling of a person's limbs to the point that the arteries become so compressed that they stop supplying blood to the limbs, and when it results in autonomic nervous system damage.

Watch out for the victim's headache after an electric shock.

It's also possible that a victim may experience a headache after an electric shock. If this happens, you should watch out because this could mean that a significant injury has resulted. The problem could sign that the victim is suffering from a neurological or brain injury that needs immediate specialized care and treatment. It is even more true if the victim's head has made direct contact with the power source. Immediately seek medical attention if this happens.

What should you do after an electrical shock?

The victim must seek and obtain medical treatment as soon as possible, immediately after an electric shock. Are there no visible injuries, such as external burns? Well, don't take it lightly. We still advise you to seek medical help even if there are no apparent injuries. By doing so, you will be able to combat, lessen, or prevent the devastating effects of any severe, life-altering injuries and symptoms we described above—some others that may develop after a few days, weeks, months, or even years. Moreover, a thorough medical examination will allow doctors and trained health care providers to discover the internal injuries resulting from electroporation, thermal injury, and biochemical cascades caused by electric shock, which is not otherwise apparent.

Access Doors and Panels is your partner when it comes to ensuring your safety against electrical hazards. Keep your electrical wiring and equipment behind access doors. Buy from us now at www.accessdoorsandpanels.com

9th Dec 2020 Access Doors and Panels