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Electric shock - facts and figures

Thousands of people are killed or seriously injured each year by electricity-related accidents, and the numbers will increase unless people take electricity more seriously.

Last year, 40 people were electrocuted, about 170 died in fires related to electrical devices, and thousands more received hospital treatment.

A Government survey found that 6 percent of adults had received an electric shock in the last year, and a third of those received medical treatment.

The same percentage of the injuries came from plugs or sockets. Four out of ten people questioned did not know when or if their homes had been rewired, while a third said they did electrical repairs them­selves.


1.   How many people are killed or injured each year?
2.   How many people were electrocuted last year?
3.   How many people died in fires related to electric devices?
4.   How many people received hospital treatment?
5.   What percentage of adults had received an electric shock?
6.   How many of them received medical treatment?
7.   What percentage of the injuries came from plugs or sockets?
8.   How many people said that they did electrical repairs themselves?


Why a little current can kill you

Typically if you touch a 240 volt circuit with one hand, you can escape serious shock if you have insulating shoes which prevent a low-resistance path to ground. This fact has led to the common "hand-in-the-pocket" practice for engineers and electrical workers. If you keep one hand in your pocket when touching a circuit which might provide a shock, you are less likely to have the kind of path to ground which will result in a serious shock.



On Thursday August 01, 2004, at approximately 16:40 hours the high voltage contract worker James Smith (35) was fatally injured and another high voltage contract worker was injured on the job.

A crew of 4 (Foreman, Linesman, Operator & Apprentice) employed by a high voltage specialist contractor were conducting a test on a 25 kv power supply. The power supply was for a new well site at a heavy oil facility in Northern Alberta. The foreman energized the 25 kv supply. The Linesman wore safety gloves and then placed the instrument leads on the cable terminations of the transformer.

The operator held the voltmeter (rated for low voltage) and was positioned beside the linesman. The apprentice was standing behind the Operator holding an instrument for an additional test to be conducted later. When the instrument leads contacted the cable terminations an arc was initiated. The arc path followed the leads to the instrument, to the operator and through to the apprentice.

The operator collapsed face down with electrical burns to his hands and arms. The apprentice fell to his knees and received minor electrical burns. The linesman and foreman were uninjured. Emergency response was immediately activated. The operator was evacuated by helicopter and later died in hospital. The apprentice was evacuated by road and treated in the Peace River hospital and subsequently released.


















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