Electrical safety: What to do in case of electrical shock
What to do in case of electrical shock
For several years now, there has been much mention of Arc Flash, but electrical shock is very present and often forgotten. A worker will think more and more about wearing his arc rated clothing but will not want to put on his dielectric gloves or know when to. Electrical shock in a worker normally happens accidentally, either during energized electrical work (eg. change of ballast) or while performing diagnostic work without dielectric gloves.
The purpose of this blog is to inform on what to do in case of electric shock. The blog talks about the procedure that can be found on Hydro-Québec’s website http://www.hydroquebec.com/security/what_to_choc.html and its application in the industry in general.
Most of the companies we have met in consultation and auditing over the years still talk about being sent to the hospital following an electric shock, but is that really what is applied? Will a worker who suffers a minor electric shock and simply feels a sensation on his fingertips consult later? Considering the policy of several companies to aim for zero accidents, will the worker who does not feel in danger consult his superior following an electric shock? The question, while complex, deserves reflection.
According to Hydro-Québec’s reference above, it’s when the person feels the current flow through his body that he or she must consult or when the latter is pregnant. It remains that the little tickling sensation can be excluded because it does not feel like current passing through the body. Furthermore, is transportation other than the ambulance allowed? In most of the clients questioned and met with, it’s the ambulance that is preferred with the idea that if the shock is more severe than previously thought, the ambulance personnel will be better able to act quickly and gain control over the situation than would a fellow worker or a person involved in another form of transport (eg. a taxi).
If the victim has been shocked, is still contact, lost consciousness, been thrown by shock, touched a source above 600 Volts, or has burn marks on the skin, an ambulance is to be contacted according to the same source.
For emergency measures, it’s important never to touch a worker who has become stuck on a live component. Workers shall be trained on the right approach: always open the circuit breakers or load-rated switches upstream of the victim before intervening, take an insulating object to separate the part of the body still in contact with the potentially energized part and call emergency services (according to the protocols in place in the company). After that, it will be necessary to start first aid without putting one’s life in danger. Emergency measures will be the subject of a future blog.
In conclusion, it’s important to consult with a medical professional after an electrical shock to facilitate the declaration of this type of event in your company. A small shock in one worker can be much more important in another, for example because of his work position or the changing conditions of the environment.
For more information or training on emergency measures, contact us!
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Intervention Prévention Inc.
Intervention Prévention concentrates its operations in the field of work safety, offering specialized services following Standards CSA Z462 – Workplace Electrical Safety, CSA Z460 – Control of Hazardous Energy: Lock-out and Other Methods, and CSA Z432 – Safeguarding of Machinery.