How Much Electricity Will Give You A Shock?
Welcome back and welcome to Rose Cottage – yes I’m living up in the hills now and it’s beautiful.
We’ve all used electrical appliances before and we’ve all been told electricity is dangerous but how much is dangerous and how much is enough electricity to kill you?
I’ll answer those two questions for you in just a few moments
When it comes to the dangers of electricity it’s not so much the voltage that’s dangerous it’s the amps because it’s the amps that’ll kill you.
So what’s the difference between volts and amps? Here’s a really simple explanation and I’m going to use the garden hose and the tap as an analogy – your tap, it’s turned off but in behind it you’ve got the water pressure the mains water pressure but no water’s flowing out of your tap. So you’ve got the potential for it to flow – the voltage is the potential for current to flow as soon as you turn the tap on the water flows and that water flowing is like the current because current is the flow of electricity. So when it comes to electrical appliances and electrical dangers it’s not the voltage it’s the amps.
So how much is enough to cause you injury how much is enough to kill you?
It’s generally agreed by most electrical regulators safety authorities medical authorities that we can feel around about one milliamp – one milliamp is one one thousandth of an amp
or 0.001 of an amp.
To put that into perspective the standard power point in your house is rated at 10 amps and if you use an appliance like maybe a hair straightener or or something like that or maybe a power tool that might draw only a couple of amps, something like a toaster, sandwich press, floodlights or something more heavy-duty that could be drawing up to ten amps. So one milliamp is not very much is it.
Now it gets even scarier – how much is enough to kill a healthy adult or permanently injure them? It’s generally agreed around about twenty five milliamps- 25 milliamps is 0.025 of
an amp. It’s not much at all.
What determines the difference between electric shock and electrocution?
Let me explain first of all what is the difference between the two… electric shock you’ll survive, electrocution you don’t.
There are three factors that will determine the difference and the severity of the electric shock we get and what the outcome is. The first one is the duration of the exposure to the current. The longer it is the more harmful it is. The second one is how many amps there are, the more amps the greater risk there is and the third factor is the pathway. If it’s just in your hand you might might get a bit of a bite out of it or it could really injure your finger but it’s not probably not going to kill you however if it comes through a part of your body and it goes across your chest,we’ve got your heart in there and as soon as it crosses through the heart that’s when the danger really occurs that’s when it gets pretty serious and if you ever get any sort of an electric shock even if it is just a mild one it’s strongly recommended that you go and seek medical treatment. What they’ll do is just wire you up to one of those machines. They’ll have a look at the readings see what’s going on with your heart and they’ll tell you pretty quickly what needs to be done and hopefully you’ll be able to leave there pretty quickly. If it’s more serious they’ll give you the treatment.
The effects of an electric shock may not be apparent straight away they could take many hours or even 24 hours or a day or two for it to to come on so if you get an electric shock always seek medical treatment.
There you have it; one milliamp is about what we can sense when we can just feel it and 25 milliamps is enough to kill a healthy adult this is why it’s so important that you get your electrical appliances test and tagged on a regular basis.
This information is general in nature, should be used as a guide only and read in conjunction with the relevant Standard(s), State and/or Federal Legislation, Codes of Practice and Industry Standards specific to your workplace. A proper risk assessment should be under taken before acting on the information provided in this document or any related material. Further information can also be obtained from your local Workplace Authority, Electrical Safety Authority or a suitably qualified persons. This article is copyright protected.