Home & Work Safety
How Shock Happens
Electricity travels easily through the human body.
Your body is 70 percent water, and water is an excellent conductor of electricity. So, when you touch an energized bare electrical wire or a faulty appliance, the electricity will use your body as the shortest path to the ground. If you are grounded, the electricity will instantly pass through you to the ground, causing a harmful - and sometimes fatal - shock.
It doesn't take much.
You can be killed by the tiny amount of electricity used by one 7.5-watt holiday light if it passes through your chest. If the shock doesn't kill you, it can still badly hurt you by causing serious falls, burns, cuts or internal bleeding. A shock from a 100-watt bulb or a 1000-watt hair dryer will probably be fatal.
You can avoid harmful or fatal shock by understanding how electricity travels and how to stay out of its way.