CHAPTER 6

ELECTRICAL SAFETY

2.0 BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF ELECTRICITY

 

2.1  Bioeffects

2.2  Resistance vs. Hazards

2.3  Reminder


2.1       Bioeffects

Electrical shock results from the flow of current through the human body.  Depending upon the magnitude of the current, effects may range from that of no sensation to shock, to death.  Injury or death may be caused by: 

         respiratory arrest resulting from involuntary contraction of the chest muscles or from temporary paralysis of the nerve center

         interference with the normal rhythm of the heart, which causes ventricular fibrillation, or the suspension of heart action by involuntary muscular contractions

         burns caused by current flowing through tissue or by high temperatures

 

 

2.2       Resistance vs. Hazards

The higher the resistance to ground, the less current will be present to induce a shock.  Resistance is the variable you can control to minimize the potential dangers associated with electricity.  Through the use of protective equipment and work practices, you can increase your resistance, thus reducing the potential for electrical shock

 

         high resistance = low hazard

         low resistance = high hazard

 

2.3       Reminder

In the hospital, the electrical equipment testing program is designed to ensure a proper ground for all equipment in case the device becomes energized and seeks the path with the least resistance.  The path should be the equipment ground, and not the patient.  This is why the ground is so important.  It provides the lowest resistance to prevent a current flow into the patient who may have little or no resistance to the shock.