All electrical systems have the potential to cause harm. Electricity will always form a "path" or "loop". Electric current cannot exist without an unbroken path to and from the conductor. When you plug in a device (e.g., a power tool), the electricity takes the easiest path from the plug-in, to the tool, and back to the power source. This is also known as creating or completing an electrical circuit.
People are injured when they become part of the electrical circuit. Humans are more conductive than the earth (the ground we stand on) which means if there is no other easy path, electricity will try to flow through our bodies.
Injuries due to electricity can happen in various ways:
- Direct contact with exposed energized conductors or circuit parts. When electrical current travels through our bodies, it can interfere with the normal electrical signals between the brain and our muscles (e.g., heart may stop beating properly, breathing may stop, or muscles may spasm).
- When the electricity arcs (jumps, or "arcs") from an exposed energized conductor or circuit such as overhead power lines pass through a medium to a person who is grounded (that would provide an alternative route to the ground for the electrical current).
The following table will give an overview about various conductors / insulators of electricity:
|Good Conductors||Fair Conductors||Good Insulators (Non-conductors)|
|Gold||Moist human skin||Silk|
|Nickel||Water vapour (in air)||Plastic|
| || ||Ebonite|
In order to avoid the electrical accidents and to minimize the damage due to occurrence of such incidents, if any, APDCL recommends the following safety measures to be followed by its fellow customers and citizens:
- Maintain proper safety of all electrical appliances. Always, install safety equipment like Earth leakage / overload & short circuit protection (circuit breakers / switches) near point of supply.
- Report electrical accidents and take necessary precautions to avoid such accidents. Take extra safety measure during natural calamities to avoid any mishap arising out of broken lines etc. “APDCL Disaster Management Plan” (Available under the Publications section) can be looked upon for details.
- If the consumer discovers that the protective seal of the metering equipment has been broken, he shall notify APDCL immediately.
- Ensure healthy earthing is installed at your premises.
- Ensure only IS marked cables of proper capacity are used for your installation and get the wiring done through only licensed Electrical Contractors.
- Always use proper capacity fuse wire in main switches.
- Ensure safety of energy meter and metering equipment in your premises. Provide weather Proof enclosures to meters and metering equipment.
- Construct your building with proper clearance from the existing High Tension/Low Tension lines as per the Indian Electricity Rules 1956 (vide rule 79 & 80).
- Get the internal wiring checked up periodically not only to avoid leakage of electricity but also to safeguard the lives of the inmates in the premises.
Steps to be taken in case of an Electrical Accident:
When you encounter someone who is suffering from electric shock, approach with extreme caution.
- 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 or by turning the mains off at the fuse box (consumer unit).
- 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 wooden or bamboo stick.
- NEVER touch the person receiving the electric shock, or you could suffer one too.
- After removing the person from the source of electricity, if the person is unconscious call for an ambulance immediately. Only those with the necessary knowledge and skill should carry out first aid.
- Where the person is conscious and seems well, it is still advisable to monitor their condition, as 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.
- A well-documented safety procedure to treat an electrical accident victim can be accessed by clicking on the below link: