Electrical Hazards

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Electrical Hazards Electrical Hazards, risks of injury or death arising from exposure to

electricity. Electricity is essential to daily life, providing heat

and light and powering appliances in homes and factories. It must,

however, be treated with great care, because the consequences of an

electrical fault can be serious and sometimes fatal. Generally

voltages greater than 50 volts can present a serious hazard and

currents of more than about 50 milliamps flowing through the human

body can lead to death by electrocution.

A shock occurs when a "live" part of some device is touched, so that

current passes through the body. Its severity depends on many factors,

including the body's conductivity (the ease with which electricity

passes through it). The conductivity is usually small, but can be

increased if the body or clothing is wet. The risk of injury also

increases according to the size of the voltage or current, or the

duration of contact. There is a risk of electrocution (death by

electric shock) if current passes across the heart. For example, if

one foot is touching wet ground, the risk is greater if the arm on the

opposite side touches a high-voltage source than it would be if the

arm on the same side did so.

Current passing into the body generates heat, which burns the tissue.

Electricity can also present less direct risks. Burns are caused when

hot surfaces on electrical appliances are touched, and some appliances

present a risk of injury from moving parts. Fires are caused when

wires or cables overheat, melting their covering of...

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...the ECA and the NICEIC.

Children must be warned to keep away from railways, electricity

sub-stations, and factories, and fishing-rods, especially those made

of carbon fibre, and kites must not be used near overhead power lines.

Anyone using electrical equipment out of doors should ensure that the

supply is protected by an RCD (residual current device), which detects

any current to earth and so will protect the user against the danger

of serious electric shock by disconnecting the supply in the event of

a fault occurring.

In the home, fuses, which are a rather crude method of protecting the

distribution system against excessive current, have largely been

replaced by the more precise MCB (miniature circuit-breaker), and RCDs

are now usually incorporated to provide added safety from the danger

of electric shock.

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