If an accident happens
Electricity is deadly! Whenever you work with electricity, the right expertise and extreme care are vitally important. A single mistake can have fatal consequences. Fire, damage or, in the worst case, death.
Electric current can produce anything from a tingling sensation and muscle cramps to an uneven heartbeat or ventricular fibrillation. When you come into contact with electricity, it uses your body as a conductor. All the tissues in your body can conduct electricity to varying degrees. Nerves, muscles and blood vessels have high conductivity whereas tendons, adipose tissue and cartilage are less good at conducting electricity. If the current passes through the heart, there is a high risk of serious injury. Serious injury is also likely if the skin is wet and there is a large surface area of contact.
The seriousness of the injury mainly depends on the following:
- the current (the amps)
- how long the current flows through the body
- the route the current takes through the body
- how much of the body's surface area is touching live parts
What should you do if an electrical accident happens?
First of all, make sure you keep a fire blanket, a fire extinguisher and a first aid box easily accessible at home. If an electrical accident happens to someone, follow these steps:
- Cut the power!
- If it is not possible to cut the power – do not touch bare skin, but pull the injured person while holding onto clothes or a non-conductive object between you and the victim.
- Check the condition of the victim.
- Call for help from nearby and seek medical attention – tell them that the accident was caused by electricity.
- Examine the injured person and start first aid if necessary.
- For serious accidents – call 112!
- Check the pulse and breathing – start cardiopulmonary resuscitation if necessary.
- Cool any burns.
- Check all over the body.
Seek medical attention
Electrical accidents can have severe consequences even if they do not seem to be serious at the time. That is why you should always seek medical attention if:
- current has passed through your body
- you have been caught in an arc flash incident
- you have lost consciousness
- you have suffered burns
- you are experiencing numbness or cramps
- you have been struck by lightning
Seek medical attention even if the accident does not seem so be all that serious.
Report an electrical accident to us
Every year, a large number of fires and accidents are caused by electricity. Many of these accidents could have been prevented. That is why following up electrical accidents is one of the National Electrical Safety Board's top priorities. We enter all the electrical accidents and incidents that come to our attention in an accident database, and the statistics are presented in an annual electrical accident report.
To get the information we need, we depend on people reporting electrical accidents to us. Employers and consumers are not obliged to report an accident to the National Electrical Safety Board, but by doing so you help prevent similar accidents happening again in the future.