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An electric current is the main determinant of how severe is an electric shock. Electric currents are expressed in amps. The intensity of a current is, however, determined by the resistance of the medium as well as the potential difference. Resistance is expressed in ohms while potential difference is measured in volts. The capability of a potential difference of 120 volts producing a dangerous shock is dependent on the prevailing circumstances. The severity of an electric shock depends on the path it takes through a person’s body (Carson, 2003). If the body of a worker who brushes his pants across a 120 voltage terminal strip is dry, and he is not bare footed, the current through his body will be less than 5 amps. This is largely accepted as harmless, although it will probably produce a tingling sensation.

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If a worker comes into contact with a 440 voltage bar, a current of about 44mA will be generated if the path to the ground presents 10,000 ohms resistance. The severity of the shock will, however, depend on the condition and material of his boot as well as the surfaces in contact with his other limbs. For example, if the worker’s boots are wet the shock could be lethal. Nonetheless, if he is wearing dry boots, and the other limbs do not make contact with any surface; the shock becomes less injurious. Whenever the boots are designed to ensure electrical protection, the danger is further reduced. Al the same, the 44mA current would still hurt, and can possible cause bruises (Home Depot, 2003). As long as it does not pass through the heart, the possibility of fatality is greatly minimized. Depending on the root it takes, it may cause a beginning of a sustained muscular contraction whereby a person is unable to move his arm at will. Although, in most cases, respiratory function may continue, fatality may result if the flow is sustained for a long time. The current that flows from one arm to the other can possibly result into cardiac arrest. Due to these dangers, several jurisdictions have passed legislations requiring laborers who work around electricity to wear rubber boots during their engagements.

While wiring present-day 220-volt appliances, necessary precautions should be taken as they may cause a disturbing impulse to an individual. While a current resulting from a voltage of 110 has been found to be dangerous, that which results from a 220 voltage is twice as harmful. Normally, whenever a hot and a neutral wire carry a household voltage of 110, a ground wire is generally used to direct the excess voltage from this circuit in incidences when a short occurs. To upgrade a 110 voltage to a 220 one, an additional hot wire is used. This addition in voltage reduces chances of overheating and hence those of consequential damage (Steven, 1997). However, the higher voltage results into the possibility of a higher current which means more harm to a worker.


A worker would be breaking the standard garage rules whenever he is charging a wall receptacle barefooted. However, by not touching both the neutral and hot wire simultaneously, he minimizes the chances that the current would pass through the heart thereby increasing the chances of cardiac arrest. The worker may suffer prolonged muscular contraction; followed by ventricular fibrillation, which may be fatal if continued for extended durations. Since most garages have concrete floors, they tend to be moist at times. Due to the dangers posed by these conditions, the United States congress passed a garage rule in 1981 which required every garage to install a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection (Steven, 1997). This was meant to reduce fatalities in garages around the country.

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