Electrical Injuries Onboard


Electrical shocks can be very serious and can cause real physical injury, permanent damage and even death.  Electrical current may cause injury in three ways: by converting energy into heat within the body, resulting in burns; by direct effects on the heart; and by causing falls, which can result in injury.

Therefore, seafarers should be well informed and trained to be familiar with the use of electrical power on board and use protective clothing or other personal protective equipment before an electrical work is performed.

Effects on human body depending on current level

Current Level (Milliamperes) Probable effect
1 mA Perception level. Slight tingling sensation. Still dangerous under certain conditions.
5 mA Slight shock felt; not painful but disturbing. Average individual can let go, however strong involuntary reactions to shocks in this range may lead to injuries
6-16 mA Painful shock, begin to lose muscular control. Commonly referred to as the freezing current or ‘let-go’ range
17-99 mA Extreme pain, respiratory arrest, severe muscular contractions. Individuals cannot let go. Death is possible
100 -2000 mA Ventricular fibrillation (uneven, uncoordinated pumping of the heart) Muscular contraction and nerve damage begins to occur. Death is likely.


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