|Topic: Electrical Injuries – Still Happening After All These Years
|Date Issued: June 17, 2011
|Date Revised: September 1, 2022
Normally, electricity is extremely safe. Considering how everyone is almost constantly surrounded by electrical wires and equipment, there are relatively few accidents. However, that’s of little comfort to the hundreds of workers injured or killed each year as a result of electrical incidents.
Perhaps it’s not the hazard workers need to be aware of, but the pattern of behaviours leading to deadly contact. Electricity commands respect. It flows through conductors along the path of least resistance, seeking ground. The human body, consisting of about 70% water, makes an excellent conductor. When a person’s body contacts an energized conductor – a live wire – it makes a very good path to the ground for a current.
In New Brunswick, a serious electrical accident resulted in severe burns to the hands and faces of the electricians involved. Apart from the injuries and suffering, fire and downtime losses were substantial.
The workers hadn’t de-energized the electrical panels or circuits on which they were working and suffered flash burns from electricity. Two of the electricians were journeymen, the third, an apprentice working under a journeyman's supervision. Investigating officers determined:
*”electrically safe work condition” means, with respect to electrical equipment with a potential exceeding 30 Vac or 60 Vdc, a state in which an electrical conductor or a circuit part has been disconnected from energized parts of the electrical equipment, locked out, tested to ensure the absence of voltage and, if necessary, grounded.