ELECTRIC SHOCK AND HOW TO AVOID IT

Apparently electricians are crazy.  They work with electricity, a dangerous form of

IMG_20190622_234526_620

‘My Wife Is A Whale’ collage on wood, by me. This image has absolutely nothing to do with this article, they were both just created over the same weekend.

energy that can kill you! They magically put life into things and go home at the end of the day as though they are JUST average bears.  They risk their lives, so the rest of the world can have lights on at night and electric heat in their houses. They know how to control charged particles that flow, they know how to make a small quantity of voltage large, and they harness natures finest waterfalls into great creator pits of generated power.

Fair enough.  Electricians are crazy.  We risk being shocked everyday, and sometimes get the shocked.  Let me tell ya, it sucks big time. Here’s what happen’s to you when you are shocked. When the charged particles decide your body is the shortest path to ground, for whatever sad reason the rest of us hope to live to avoid, it can bite on and use your body as a path to get what it wants, like a queen on a mission. Queen E.  Like most queens, she’s got varying degrees of integrity and fire power (aka voltage and current), so sometimes you get off easy and only have a little tingle, other times you get blown to smoke and there’s a crispy corpse for your family to remember you by. There’s some pretty basic rules that humans, through trial and error, have learned that can keep Queen E from getting out of control.

Here some rules to follow.

1- NEVER WORK LIVE.  This means: find and lock out every circuit you and the people around you are working on.  Do you see bare exposed wires? Test to see if they are live with a volt tester or meter, and if they are live turn the circuit off before you touch them.  Test the wire with a volt tester before taking the marrette off, make sure it is dead. Are you a hotshot that still lick’s their fingers and touches bare copper to see if its live? Shame on you and quit fucking around.  Are you working where you cannot turn the power off? Wait. There’s always a good time to turn the power off. Schedule it. Use a back up generator. Wait for a shut down. Is this job worth risking your life? No it is not.  Don’t be a hero.

2- ALWAYS WORK AS THOUGH IT COULD BE LIVE.  Even after you’ve tested the circuit and locked it out, be aware electricity does weird shit and so do other people who might have done a weird splice somewhere, meaning you should be aware the circuit you just turned off is never safe. Use your pliers to twist the copper, wear gloves, wear safety glasses.  Always marrette bare copper ends before you leave them.

3- HAVE A SAFETY PLAN IN PLACE.  Just in case you get electrocuted, you’re going to want to be rescued and shipped to professional care asap.  Do not work alone, if you do maintain contact with someone who will care about you and check in often. Be sure the people you’re working with understand first aid for electrocution, and have a way to call 911 or whatever the rescue plan is.  Dont fuck around with this. You have people in your life that love you, and even if you’re having a shit day and think nobody loves you, how about i love you okay, so don’t die on me.

4- IN CASE IT’S NOT CLEAR, HERE IS A LIST OF WAYS VERY SMALL AMOUNTS OF CURRENT FLOWING THROUGH YOUR BODY CAN FUCK YOUR WHOLE LIFE UP. THEY’RE ALSO REASONS WHY YOU NEED TO GO SEE A DOCTOR AFTER BEING ELECTRIC SHOCKED: (the short term damage list; burns, nerve damage, brain damage, heart damage, you can live through the electric shock but die from the shock from the incident, death.  The long term damage list: cataracts, memory loss, anxiety, depression, ptsd, nerve damage, burns so bad you must amputate a limb etc).

-Muscle spasms, that can either throw you off the ladder, throw you across the cow field, or make it so you cannot let go of this wire.

Muscles, ligaments and tendons may tear as a result of the sudden contraction caused by an electric shock. Tissue can also be burned if the shock is lasting or the current is high.

-If a current of 50 mA passes through the heart, it can cause cardiac arrest.

-The heart is also a muscle, which beats to pump blood through the body. The rhythm of our heartbeat is controlled by electric impulses—it is these impulses that are monitored by an electrocardiogram. If a current from outside the body passes through the heart, it can mask these impulses and disturb the heart’s rhythm. This irregular heartbeat is called arrhythmia and can even manifest as a total disorganization of the rhythm, known as ventricular fibrillation.

-When ventricular fibrillation occurs, the heart stops pumping and the blood stops circulating. The victim rapidly loses consciousness and dies if a healthy heartbeat is not restored with a device called a defibrillator. The arrhythmia can occur at the time of the shock or in the hours following the electric shock.

-When a current above 100 mA passes through the body, it leaves marks at the points of contact with the skin. Currents above 10,000 mA (10 A) cause serious burns that may require amputation of the affected limb.

-Some burns are easy to recognize because they look like the burns you can get from contact with heat. Others may seem harmless but aren’t: tiny charred craters indicate the presence of much more serious internal burns.

-Electrical burns often affect internal organs. They are caused by the heat generated from the body’s resistance to the current passing through it. Internal damage may be much more serious than the external injuries suggest.

-Internal burns often have serious consequences: scarring, amputation, loss of function, loss of sensation and even death. For example, if a lot of tissue is destroyed, the large amount of waste generated can cause serious kidney or blood circulation disorders.

–  Nerves are tissue that offers very little resistance to the passage of an electric current. When nerves are affected by an electric shock, the consequences include pain, tingling, numbness, weakness or difficulty moving a limb. These effects may clear up with time or be permanent.

-Electric injury can also affect the central nervous system. When a shock occurs, the victim may be dazed or may experience amnesia, seizure or respiratory arrest.

-Long-term damage to the nerves and the brain will depend on the extent of the injuries and may develop up to several months after the shock. This type of damage can also cause psychiatric disorders.

– Other disorders can appear in the weeks or months following the shock, depending on which organs the current passed through. For example, if the current passed through the eyes, cataracts may develop over time.

To close, I would like to remind you that you are not a disposable human, although main stream culture would like to make us think construction workers are.  Show some self respect and care about yourself and the people around you.  I’m tired of hearing the nonchalant stories of all the times electricians were shocked, and how they expect it to happen again.   Nope and fuck that. We are electricians so that no one gets electrocuted and burned, including ourselves.

A lot of the information in this article was stolen directly from this website: https://www.hydroquebec.com/safety/electric-shock/consequences-electric-shock.html

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.