Many workers are unaware of the potential electrical hazards in their work environment, which only increases their risks. Engineers, electricians, construction workers, and other professionals work directly with or near electricity, such as overhead power lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies. Others, such as factory, office, and retail workers, are often exposed indirectly to electrical hazards through faulty equipment or over-burdened extension cords. Accidental contact with electrical currents can cause electrical burns, electrical shock, electrocution, fires, and explosions. Electrical burns injuries can damage the body tissue or internal organs when a person comes into direct contact with an electrical current. It accounts for 1000 deaths yearly in the United States, with a mortality rate of 3-15%. If you are a worker at risk of electrical shock and burns or a parent with a child at home, the Photo of today will teach you how to treat and prevent electrical burns.
What are Electrical Burns?
Electrical burns are skin burn that happens when the electricity comes in contact with the body’s surface. It may be caused by several sources of electric sources such as lightning strikes, stun guns, and contact with electrical appliances and household currents.
When electricity comes in contact with your skin, it can travel through your body. When this happens, the electricity can damage tissues and organs. This damage can be mild or severe and can even cause death. Organs that are commonly damaged include the following:
- Heart: People can get abnormal heart rhythms. Their heart can also suddenly stop beating, called “cardiac arrest.”
- Kidneys: – The kidneys can stop working normally.
- Bones and muscles: If the muscles are severely injured, substances from inside damaged muscle cells can leak into the blood.
- Nervous system: People can pass out, have muscle weakness, or have eye or ear damage.
Also Read: First aid requirements at construction site
What Are the 3 Types of Electrical Burns?
There are three types of electrical injuries. These are:
1. Electrical burns – This can result when someone touches electrical wiring or equipment used or maintained improperly. It often occurs on the hands. Electrical burns are one of the most severe injuries you can receive. Therefore, they need to be given immediate attention.
2. Arc-blasts – This electric burn occurs when powerful, high-amperage currents arc through the air. This is often caused by equipment failure due to fatigue.
3. Thermal burns – This type of burn (thermal injuries) may result if an explosion occurs or when electricity ignites an explosive material in the air. The ignition can result from the buildup of combustible vapors, gasses, or dust.
Also Read: Types of electrical injuries
What Are the Categories of Electrical Burns?
Burns are classified into three categories, with increasing seriousness.
- First Degree Burn – It affects only the epidermis or outer layer of the skin. This burn causes mild redness, swelling, and pain.
- Second Degree Burn – It affects both the upper layer of the skin and the skin underneath it. Some specific symptoms of this burn include redness, swelling, pain, and blistering.
- Third-Degree Burn – This is the most severe type of burn that destroys the deep layers of the skin. This can lead to numb skin and white or blackened skin.
First Aid for an Electrical Burns:
The first step to take when a person is in contact with an electrical source is to call 911 or other emergency services. For minor or mild burns, follow these first aid steps. If symptoms persist, consult your physician or head to the nearest hospital with an emergency department.
1. Do not touch the electrical burn patient with your hands.
2. Unplug the appliance or turn off the main power source.
3. If you cannot turn the power off, try to remove the person from the source of electricity. Do this safely by standing on a dry surface or using a dry wooden object to push the patient away from the source of electricity.
4. When it is safe, check if the person is conscious and breathing. Then, gently touch and talk to the person.
5. Check whether the person responds to touch or is being talked to after separating them from the electrical source. If the electrified person is not responding, start CPR immediately.
6. If the victim has a burn, remove any clothing that comes off easily and rinse the burn in cool water until the pain reduces. Then, give first Aid for burns.
7. If the person shows any signs of electrical shock, lay them down, with the head slightly lower than the chest and the legs elevated.
8. Stay with the electric burn victim until medical help arrives and watch for signs of infection.
Also, Read: E-Books: Electric Safety Practice and Standards
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