Electrical injury

Electrical injury is determined by the flow of current. For a given voltage difference, the amount of current flowing (in amperes) depends on the resistance or impedance of the body. Traditionally, the body has been considered to have a resistance of about 500 to 1000, not including skin resistance. However, this figure varies markedly as it depends on the applied voltage, the duration of the shock, and the body current pathway. Skin resistance varies with the site, the condition of the skin, and the duration and area of contact (Bernstein 1991). Where the epidermis is thicker (i.e. soles of the feet and palms of the hands), the resistance may be much higher. Once skin burning has taken place, the skin resistance rapidly falls and current flow increases rapidly. Above 200 V, body impedance becomes very low.

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