The electrical hazards associated with the use of 60 hertz alternating current for electrical power were reviewed. Injuries produced by electrical current were categorized as low tension current and high tension current events based on a potential difference of less than or greater than 1,000 volts, respectively. The tetanic contractions induced by alternating current resulted in locking the victim to the contact in the case of low tension accidents and throwing the victim from the contact in the case of high tension accidents. Electrical injury included electrothermal burns with and without flame burns and associated cardiorespiratory, urinary, and skeletal damage. Delayed complications included hemorrhage, gangrene, bacterial infection, renal failure, paralysis, and cataracts. The usual point of entry for electrical current into the body was the skin, and tissue damage was related to the intensity of the current as defined by Ohm's Law. Resistance depended upon the thickness and condition of the skin at the point of entry. Electrical conduction within the body was most rapid along the nerves and blood vessels, and a decreasing rank order of conduction was defined for nerves, blood vessels, muscle, skin, tendon, fat, and bone. The pathology and emergency treatment of true electrical injury, electrothermal burns, flame burns, and associated injuries were included.
Occupational Safety and Health Symposia, 1977, Division of Technical Services, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Cincinnati, Ohio, DHEW (NIOSH) Publication No. 78-169