Fact vs. Fiction: Myths about electricity debunked
It is important to understand electricity and its properties when one is working extensively with the power source. Misunderstandings and false impressions are the major reasons for the occurrence of workplace electricity related accidents. In 2011, exposure to electricity resulted in 174 worker fatalities and more than 2,000 cases involving days away from work, according to the 2014 edition of the National Safety Council’s “Injury Facts.” It is necessary to separate the fact from fiction and to debunk the myths which surround electricity:
Myth: Electricity will always take the path of least resistance
Truth: Electricity is not selective in its path. It will take any conductive path, regardless of the level of resistance the path offers.
Myth: An appliance which falls into a body of water will short out and trip the entire circuit.
Truth: This would only occur if the body of water is conductive. If not, it is not part of the loop to the ground. This does not mean that it is safe to extract the appliance with your bare hands. Water acts as a conductive medium for the electricity inside the appliance and the person who comes into contact with the water surface could suffer a fatal shock.
Myth: Electricity goes to ground and is no longer existent.
Truth: The ground acts as a part of the electrical loop. When the electricity goes to ground, it uses this loop to return to the grounded power source. It does not simply disappear, as many people suppose.
Myth: For a shock to be fatal, the voltage must be high.
Truth: While the magnitude of the voltage is important to determine the strength of the current, ultimately, it is the current which delivers the shock. A 60 volt current is enough to kill a human being.
Myth: Tools which are double insulated will always be protected against electricity.
Truth: Never wholly trust an appliance or equipment based solely on the appearance or description. Read the manual or instructions provided by the manufacturer to fully understand the working of the device.
To reduce the incidents of accidents, safety measures such as maintenance of fuses and upkeep of the appliances should be given utmost importance. These would be the first line of defence in the occurrence of an emergency.