Electrical Injuries and Considerations

Electrical injury in the UK

Approximately 1000 people in the UK are injured at work every year due to electrical injury, with around 25 of these people dying. This makes a call to an electrical incident uncommon, however, it does present potential challenges and considerations which you not have thought of.

When dealing with electrical injuries there are a number of factors that can alter the level of injury. These include:

  • The Voltage
  • Whether it is Alternating (AC) or Direct (DC)
  • The magnitude of the current
  • The length of time exposed to the current
  • The pathway that the current takes, i.e. it is more likely to be damaging if the current traverses major organs such as the heart
  • If a person is wet, this can also affect the area of injury

An obvious concern when on the scene is looking at safety, and ensuring all electrical feeds are off which may pose a danger to yourself/crew and the patient(s)/bystanders. For this, you may have to speak to a number of people at the site of the incident, and it will vary depending on the location/premises. For example, in a home DIY project, turning off at the mains may eliminate the source, whereas, at an industrial complex, an electrical engineer may be required to isolate the source. Be vigilant in the presence of electricity and always place your safety first and foremost, when working in a potentially dangerous place, it is up to you to conduct your own safety assessment and protect yourself even if that means waiting for specialist support.

Consider advice from the Fire Service, local electrical utility, safety representatives on-site, or contact control to seek further advice.