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It Only Takes One AA Battery to Electrocute a Person

Posted By Arnold & Itkin LLP || 31-May-2018

Electrocution is 1 of the 4 most common causes of fatal accidents that workers face. In light of the tragic death of two workers at a plant last week, today's blog is going to illustrate how vital electrical safety awareness is...by explaining how terribly easy it is to end a life with an electric current.

Gizmodo did a story 9 years ago where they asked Adam Savage of Mythbusters how much electricity it would take to kill a person. His response? It would only take about 7 milliamps for 3 seconds.

For reference, a single AA battery contains 2,500 milliamps.

Death by .3% of a Battery?

How could such a small amount of electricity kill a person? To answer that question, you have to understand how "electrocution" actually works. While being electrocuted can result in severe burns and complications (which are sometimes fatal on their own), death-by-electrocution occurs when electricity interrupts the heart's rhythm. The heart's rhythm is controlled by electrical signals—even a small amount of outside electrical energy can interrupt it.

A seven-milliamp jolt is enough to stop someone's heart, and mere seconds of arrhythmia is enough to stop a heartbeat permanently. Theoretically, a charge not even large enough to power a child's toy is enough to be fatal.

The Need for Responsible Employers

So why aren't batteries killing people left and right?

Because, thankfully, our bodies are built to resist small amounts of electric current. Our skin, for example, has a resistance of 5,000 to 15,000 ohms. Our clothing adds resistance as well, so we're safe from most everyday shocks.

However, how little electrical current it takes to kill us shows how fragile we are—and how much employers need to protect workers with every possible precaution. Better processes, rules that don't rely on personal alertness, and other safety tools could help prevent all electrocution accidents.

If you've been injured in an industrial accident, call {F:P:Site:Phone} to discuss your case with Arnold & Itkin. Our clients have won billions of dollars to rebuild their lives—schedule a free consultation to get started.

Client's portion of total recovery may be subject to Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement claims, Medicare/Medicaid liens or other third-party claims or liens. These verdicts and settlements are intended to be representative of cases handled by Arnold & Itkin, LLP. These listings are not a guarantee or prediction of the outcome of any other claims.

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