Excessive Sweat Increases Risk of Electric Shock

Workers need to be aware that excessive amounts of their own sweat can increase the risk of electric shock when working with mains powered tools.

NT Worksafe has reported an increase in electric shock reports caused by sweat entering power tools in the course of their operation.

Electric shocks in hot, humid conditions quite often occur when power tools such as tech screw guns, welders, grinders and power drills are used. It is not uncommon for sweat to run over the power tool and enter through the air vents or the trigger area.

Sweat is particularly conducive to mains voltage electricity. Although it predominantly contains water, it is also made up of minerals, lactate and urea.

Although the electric shocks that result are usually not life threatening, considerable time is often lost because medical supervision and an electrocardiogram (ECG) are typically needed after an electric shock occurs.

To reduce the risk of electric shock while using power tools, it is recommended that mains powered tools are not used during the hottest times of the day and that air tools and battery powered tools are used instead.

When a power tool causes a shock, it needs to be isolated, tagged and examined by a person who is competent and able to confirm that it remains fit for use. The power tool needs to be retested and tagged.

Source:  http://www.safetyinaustralia.com.au/safety-news/8067-electric-shock-hazards-associated-with-excessive-sweating-whilst-using-mains-powered-tools.html

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