By "nervous system" we mean the network of special cells in the body called "nerve cells" or "neurons" which process and conduct the multitude of signals responsible for regulation of many body functions. Nerve cells communicate to each other through the transmission of electrical signals very small voltages and currents. If electric current of sufficient magnitude is conducted through a living creature human or otherwise , its effect will be to override the tiny electrical impulses normally generated by the neurons, overloading the nervous system and preventing internal signals from being able to actuate muscles.
Muscles triggered by an external shock current will involuntarily contract, and there's nothing the victim can do about it. This problem is especially dangerous if the victim contacts an energised conductor with his or her hands. The forearm muscles responsible for bending fingers tend to be better developed than those muscles responsible for extending fingers, and so if both sets of muscles try to contract because of an electric current conducted through the person's arm, the "bending" muscles will win, clenching the fingers into a fist.
If the conductor delivering current to the victim faces the palm of his or her hand, this clenching action will force the hand to grasp the wire firmly, thus worsening the situation by securing excellent contact with the wire. The victim will be completely unable to let go of the wire.
Electricity in the Workplace
This effect can only be stopped by stopping the current through the victim. Even when the current is stopped, the victim may not regain voluntary control over their muscles for a while, as the neurotransmitter chemistry has been thrown into disarray. Electric current is able to affect more than just skeletal muscles in a shock victim, however.
The diaphragm muscle controlling the lungs, and the heart -- which is a muscle in itself -- can also be "frozen" by electric current. Even relatively low currents can often scramble nerve cell signals enough that the heart cannot beat properly, sending the heart into a condition known as fibrillation.
A fibrillating heart flutters rather than beats, and is ineffective at pumping blood to vital organs in the body.
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Healthy, safe and productive lives and enterprises. Managing Safety and Health in Schools. Teacher Support and Classroom Resources. Safety and Health Initiatives in Education. Health and Safety Courses Online. Regulations and Orders. Codes of Practice. Workplace Complaint. Getting Started. Taking Care of Business. Workplace Transport Safety Load Securing.
As an Employer it is YOUR responsibility to ensure:
Accidents and Behaviour Bullying at Work. If there is potential for an explosive atmosphere then specialist electrical equipment is required and further information is available in the ATEX section of our website. Often portable equipment is available that is powered from a volt supply through a simple transformer and these are often centre tapped to earth so that the maximum voltage between a live conductor and earth the most common cause of electric shocks from equipment is limited to 55V.
Class 1 equipment relies for its safety upon being connected to earth via the plug. When testing Class 1 equipment the earth bond test checks there is a secure connection to earth.
The Importance of Electrical Safety
The insulation test checks there is no pre existing earth fault. If equipment operating at volts or higher is used, an RCD residual current device can provide additional safety. RCD's are mandatory on all circuits supplying portable equipment and on certain other circuits where the hazard of electricity is exacerbated by the proximity of water. An RCD is a device which detects some, but not all, faults in the electrical system and rapidly switches off the supply.
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The best place for an RCD is built into the main switchboard or the socket-outlet, as this means that the supply cables are permanently protected. If this is not possible then a plug incorporating a RCD, or a plug-in RCD adaptor can be used to provide additional safety.
The National Rules for Electrical Installations Incorporating Amendment No 1 as published by the ETCI ET sets out rules for new installations rather than for installations existing prior to the publication of these rules. Part The HSA recognises that some DC element in the make-up of electrical consumption is becoming increasingly prevalent in many modern electrical installations.
It is therefore expected that type A or Type B RCD's will become more common as preferred options for detecting residual currents than heretofore.
All electrical equipment and installations should be maintained to prevent danger. Healthy, safe and productive lives and enterprises. Managing Safety and Health in Schools. Teacher Support and Classroom Resources.
Electricity in the Workplace - Health and Safety Authority
Safety and Health Initiatives in Education. Health and Safety Courses Online. Regulations and Orders. Codes of Practice. Workplace Complaint. Getting Started.
Taking Care of Business. Workplace Transport Safety Load Securing. Accidents and Behaviour Bullying at Work. Strategy in Workplace Health Workplace Stress. Electricity in the Workplace Places of work generally have power nominally supplied at volt single phase and volt 3 phase although some larger workplaces will receive electricity at a higher supply voltage. The main hazards with electricity are: contact with live parts causing shock and burns faults which could cause fires; fire or explosion where electricity could be the source of ignition in a potentially flammable or explosive atmosphere, e.
As an Employer it is YOUR responsibility to ensure: Extension cables and other flexible leads which are particularly prone to damage to plugs and sockets and to their connections are visually checked, maintained and where necessary replaced before using portable equipment. The ends of flexible cables should always have the outer sheath of the cable firmly clamped to stop the wires particularly the earth pulling out of the terminals Use the correct cable connectors or couplers to join lengths of cables together and do not allow taped joints. Controlling the Risk Reduce the Voltage Often portable equipment is available that is powered from a volt supply through a simple transformer and these are often centre tapped to earth so that the maximum voltage between a live conductor and earth the most common cause of electric shocks from equipment is limited to 55V.
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