The Phenomenon of Electrification: A Frequent Accident

Electrical energy has become an indispensable part of human life. However, we are all aware that it is a double-edged technological evolution. Used in everyday life, electricity provides us with light and heat, sources of our comfort. But simple inattention and bad manipulation can be dangerous for our health. Not to mention the various pathologies that electrification can cause. You should know that it can also cause death. Focus on the subject.

How can we define electrification?

The term “electrification” refers to the passage of an electric current through the human or animal body. The body, composed mainly of water, is an excellent conductor of electricity. As a result of the current flowing through the body, external and internal tissues and organs can be seriously injured.

People often confuse “electrification” with “electrocution”. However, these two concepts differ, especially in the medical field. When doctors talk about electrocution, it means that the victim did not survive, while when they talk about electrification, they refer to an electrical accident that may not result in death.

Electrification is not always an accident. Using a defibrillator for cardiac resuscitation or using a taser for self-defense can also cause it.

What factors can lead to electrification?

In France, more than 3,000 cases of accidental electrification are recorded each year, 40 of which lead to the victims’ death. The origins of the accidents are very varied, but the most frequent are

Domestic accidents: due to an electrical installation that is not up to standard, using a defective appliance, handling of electrical appliances in a damp environment (including the bathroom), or carrying out work without having switched off the power supply.

Workplace accidents mainly affect those who work as pruners, roofers, or welders. These people are constantly exposed to the danger of electrification. On the other hand, electrical professionals are little affected because they are well-equipped and have received training.

Leisure time accidents: here, lighting comes into play. The practice of outdoor activities near pylons in stormy weather is strictly forbidden. It is the same for fishing, paragliding, sailing, etc.

What are the impacts of electrification?

The effects of electrification on the human body are numerous, to mention only:

Spasm and muscle contractions;
muscular lesions that cause tetany;
the ocular, neurological, and pulmonary lesions and also of all the organs crossed by the current;
skin burns which can be very serious;
cardiac disorders that can lead to the death of the victim.

What environmental conditions favor electrification?

Depending on the conditions in which the victim suffered the accident, his chances of recovery may increase.

The case becomes more serious when :

the contact time with the current is long;
the contact surface is larger;
the skin is wet;
the wall of the current exit point (the floor) is made of conductive material;
the voltage of the current is very high.

How to avoid electrification?

Electrification is not a minor accident at all. It is, therefore, necessary to take the required precautions to prevent the risks of exposure to the dangers:

Have the electrical installation of the house checked and make sure that it follows the standards;

Check the condition of all electrical appliances before each use, especially the power cord and plug. Avoid overloading outlets (e.g., by using power strips);

Limit the use of electrical appliances in wet rooms. Limit the use of electrical appliances in wet rooms. Only clean them if they are already unplugged. Also, be careful when handling lighting (changing bulbs, etc.);

Always wear the necessary protective equipment when working with electricity (drilling, welding, pruning, etc.).

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