Electric Shock – Causes & Preventions

Electric shock occurs when electric current flows through our body. It causes harm to body or can prove to be fatal. Actually it is the flow of electrons (electrical current) through our body. When the phase or live wire touches the body, muscular functions of body are paralyzed. It is the current which gives shock though it depends on intensity of voltage while the current (amperage) is the measure of electron flow rate. So it is the flow of electrons (current) through body that shocks or electrocute. Electric shocks can occur due to leakage and earth faults in electrical appliances.          

What causes electric shock?

Open electric sockets, fallen high voltage line, or any exposure of an electrical energy source can cause electrical shock. Injuries from an electric shock depend on the intensity of electricity voltage. If the contact is with low voltage electricity, you will get light electric shock or if you have touched high voltage electricity, you will get high electric shock.  

What are effects of electric shock?

1. Causes pain to our body

When we touch naked wire, we get some shock which causes pain to our body. If the intensity of shock is little, there are chances of being survive but if the intensity is strong, there are deadly consequences.  

2. Generates heat inside body

Electric shock generates heat in our body and if it is strong, it will produce a lot of heat and can damage our tissues. As a result it can lead to permanent disability in our body.      

3. Blocks nervous system

Electric shock creates blockage of nervous system in sour body. It stops signals of nerve system from reaching their destinations. Therefore the signals are overloaded and unable to actuate muscles which contract involuntarily.

What are symptoms of electric shock?

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Absence of respiration
  • Very weak pulsation 
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Contraction of muscles
  • Burns at the point of contact

How to treat electric shock?

Artificial respiration is the first aid treatment of electric shock, gas asphyxiation, motor exhaust gas asphyxiation and drowning because the breathing stops in all these conditions. To remove the person from the contact of electric current may be the first treatment of electric shock. You need to be very careful while removing the person from the contact of electricity. 


How to save victim of electric shock?

1. Turn off electric current

Always save the victim of electric shock as soon as possible without getting in touch with live wire. Immediately look for the switch and turn off the current source (throwing a circuit breaker or switch). You can disconnect the device from its’ electrical outlet or cut the wires using insulated tools.    

2. Remove electric shock victim

Take out your handkerchief, belt or a piece of rope and loop it over the legs of victim if he is lying on live wire and pull him off. You can cut the wire if you find an axe or any similar tool nearby. But before you do so make sure that its’ handle is dry or wrap dry cloth round the handle.

How to prevent electric shocks?

1. Employ a professional technician

A professional or qualified and licensed technician should be employed to do electrical jobs. 

2. Wear rubber shoes/gloves

During electrical works wear rubber sole shoes and stand on a rubber mat or dry wooden floors or sub floors. Never work barefoot or with slippers to avoid electric shock. 

3. Always light up and lock electric panel

Keep a flashlight near your electrical panel at all times and at the place of work. Lock main panel while doing electric work else anyone could start the supply ignorantly.

4. Switch off power supply in case of fire

Switch off power supply immediately and use sand, carbon dioxide or dry powder extinguishers in case of fire from electrical circuits. Don’t use water to put out the fire. 

5. Cut off electric supply while repairing

Shut electric supply from the mains before taking up electrical repair work. Make sure the power is off using a simple pocket tester, a multi-meter, or lamp, blow dryer or any other appliances after closing power supply.    

6. Install plugs and switches properly

Fix switches and plugs at a height, out of reach of children. Main switchboard and meter should be safe and be protected from rain, dust and wind.   

7. Make use of good wiring

Utilize good wiring and change any damaged, rusted wiring immediately. Don’t make joints in wiring. All necessary joints should have proper tapes/insulation. Avoid loose connection in wiring and make use of fuse / MCB’s of appropriate. Keep away from overhead lines and do not touch broken wires.    

8. Provide effective Earthing 

All electrical appliances should be provided effective Earthing. Install Earth Leakage Circuit Breakers to prevent electrical shocks. Make use of properly earthed 3 pin plugs for all electrical appliances. 


9. Remove or insert fuse carefully

At the time of working with fuse panels, when you remove a fuse, use only one hand to remove it. Put your other hand either in your pocket or behind your back. In this way electricity can still flow through one hand and one foot and not pass through your heart. Another important aspect of safety is to use good quality tools.

10. Follow safety standards

Safety equipments such as masks for dust, safety glasses for eye protection and gloves to preserve your hands should be used at the time of electric works. Keep your face away from the panel at the very moment you turn on or off a breaker.

11. Do electric jobs cautiously

Whether home wiring or electrical repair work is done either by you or by electrician, do the job safely and confidently. It’s essential to be watchful while doing electric works.  Electrical works should not be done in a hurry. Make sure that electrical works are done in a planned way and allow plenty of time to complete the work. Generally people think that 120 volts is not dangerous but it is not only dangerous but also it is lethal.       

12. Use wooden ladders while doing repairs

Use wooden or fiberglass ladders which are non conductor of electricity during electrical repair works. Electrical repair works should not be done in rain, or in damp or wet locations, or where the power is not completely shut off.


Switch off the electric supply before taking up electrical repair work.
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