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Avoid the Shock - Contractors need to take steps to prevent the leading on-the-job killer — electricity.; Avoid the Shock
  • Published Date:
    1/1/2008
Filetype[PDF - 400.58 KB]


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  • Description:
    Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 89 water well drillers died on the job between 1992 and 2002, and 28 of these deaths were electrocutions (Figure 1). In fact, elec­trical accidents are the leading on-the-job killer of water well drillers. The use of electricity is such an integral part of our lives that we usually take it for granted, but if we don’t understand or choose to ignore the hazards associated with electricity, the results can be deadly. Why is electrical shock so dangerous? If the voltage (of a shock) is sufficient to drive electrical current through your body, just 10 milliamps of cur­rent (1000 milliamps = 1 amp) can cause muscles to contract and prevent you from releasing an energized wire or tool in your grip. As little as 30 milliamps of current can paralyze your breathing, and 75 milli­amps can cause your heart to stop pumping blood (ventricular fibrillation). As a comparison, a small bedroom night-light draws about 30 to 60 milliamps. Other factors influence how severely you’ll be shocked if you touch a live electrical circuit, such as the path electrical current takes through your body and how long it flows, as well as your body weight. How much voltage is needed to drive electrical cur­rent through your body? Not much! Generally, any power source at 50 volts AC or higher is considered dangerous.

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