How To Prevent Electric Shock In The Kitchen

According to Wikipedia, electric injuries have resulted in about 1,000 deaths and more than 30,000 injuries only in the United States. This should tell you how important for you to know how to prevent electric shock in the kitchen, and coupled to that, its causes and how to remediate it when it happens.

It is not news that almost all the appliances in the kitchen run on electricity, and if it isn’t used correctly, it can be dangerous rather than helpful.  

This article will expose everything you need to know about how to prevent electrical shocks and everything you need to know about an electric shock to promote household safety.

What Are Common Causes of Electrical Shocks in the Kitchen

  • Faulty appliances
  • Incorrect or faulty household wiring
  • Lightning strike
  • Electrical appliances coming in contact with water
  • Damaged or frayed cords or extension leads
  • Downed power lines

Top 8 Ways to Prevent Electrical Shocks in the Kitchen

Electricity will serve you well if you learn to take proper precautions. The first rule to prevent electric shock is to shut off the power when not in use or immediately after usage. However, they are appliances in the kitchen that can still produce electric power even if they are powered off.  You keep it out of reach for this kind of appliance and only use it with hands covered in safety gloves. 

Below are the 8 top ways to prevent electric shock in the kitchen.

1. Fix Faulty Extension Cords

Avoid using extension cords that are faulty or frayed. Extension cords often become faulty when you constantly overload them beyond their average amperage. So this should be avoided.

2. Never Connect or Disconnect An Appliance When in use

When an appliance is in use, it is wired to a circuit and is running. It draws power and electricity from the circuit, flowing into the appliance and back to the circuit wiring. If you try to unplug the appliance while it’s still on and connected to the circuit, the flow of electricity might get disrupted and create an arc, which is very dangerous and can result in an electric shock.

3. Keep the Appliances Away from Moisture (Water and other fluids)

Do not use electric appliances close to water or other fluids. For example, the refrigerator or microwave should be kept far from the sink or water pipe in the kitchen. This is because water is highly conductive and can lead to an electrical shock. Also, when an electrical appliance submerges into the water, it can turn the water body hazardous. Also, the appliance doesn’t have to submerge into the water to be dangerous; proximity is known to be hazardous.  This, however, can lead to a short circuit.  To this effect, it is advised you do thorough insulations and install GFI outlets in your kitchen and bathroom to reduce the risk.

4. Install GFCI Outlet/Use GFCI Empowered Extension Cord

It is advised that you plug all your appliances using electricity in the kitchen into a ground-fault circuit interrupter or a GFCI outlet. You can even get a GFCI-protected extension cord to operate. GFCI helps to detect electrical faults and shuts off the power, helping to prevent you from electric shock.

5. Be Careful with Capacitors

Capacitors are found in most kitchen appliances such as microwave ovens, air conditioners, refrigerators, and electric cookers. Capacitors help store electricity that helps start-up motors boost them at high voltage. So in dealing with appliances that have capacitors, you need to be very careful as they can deliver a shock when the device is unplugged, or circuit power is off, even you don’t discharge the capacitors safely.

6. Turn Off the Power Immediately After Use

You must turn off all electric appliances immediately after usage. Make sure you turn off the appropriate circuit breaker in the breaker box. If the device has a cord, unplug the cord immediately after use to shut the power to the appliance.

7. Identify Faulty Wiring/Damaged Cords

When the wiring isn’t done correctly, it can expose the core parts of the wire, also called the “naked part,” which can instantly cause a shock when you contact it. The same goes for damaged cords.

When you notice this, immediately replace all the appliances. Please do not use equipment with improper wiring. If you must use it, use a circuit breaker box to ensure that the power is disconnected when high amounts of current flow through the circuit.

8. Use Insulated Tools

It is advised to always use insulated tools for electrical work. It helps to protect you from getting electrocuted if the appliance slips or makes an accidental electrical connection. Also, the importance of this is that the amount of exposed metal in insulated tools is minimal, thus helping in preventing electrical accidents.

What are the Symptoms of Electric Shock

The common symptoms of an electric shock include:

  • Burns, particularly entrance and exit burns (where the electricity entered and left the body)
  • A weak pulse or no pulse at all
  • Unconsciousness
  • Difficulties in breathing/stopped breathing
  • Sudden cardiac arrest.

What are the Safety Tips Against Electricity Shock in the Kitchen?

You can significantly reduce or stop totally all cases of electric shock in the kitchen if you follow the precautions below.

  • Always hire a professional/licensed electrician to do all the needed wiring not only in the kitchen but in the entire house.
  • Keep electrical appliances far away from moisture or wet areas in the kitchen like the sink area.
  • Install safety switches by a professional electrician.
  • Insert safety plugs into power points to prevent children from inserting objects into them.
  • Don’t use extension appliances if the cords are faulty or damaged
  • Don’t remove a plug from a PowerPoint circuit by pulling on the cord – pull the plug instead.
  • Always wear footwear while operating electrical appliances, especially if the ground is wet.
  • Treat all forms of noticed electrical issues with some form of urgency.
  • Switch off all electrical appliances if the electrical circuit is high beyond normal voltage.
  • Make sure the portable power boards you are buying has built-in safety switches.

What is a Safety Switch?

A safety switch called a residual current device is designed to help save lives by monitoring power flow and ensuring that the flow remains even. It is sometimes confusing for a circuit breaker designed to protect household wiring/appliances from power surges.

A safety switch travels out electricity supply in the case of a current flow to earth. It primarily helps to protect you from harmful electric shocks in situations where you come into contact with a live electrical circuit and exposed damaged cords. Also, when you harbor and still use faulty appliances or devices, the safety switch helps to regulate the current from not harming you.

Frequent Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many people died from electrical shock last year?

According to the NIOSH Publication,  5,348 deaths were caused by electrocutions, resulting in 411 deaths per year. This accounted for 7% of all fatalities. As such, every homeowner should ensure preventive measures are set in place.

What is the main cause of death due to electric shock?

Most of the electrical death fatalities are caused by currents passing between an arm (usually from the right) and the legs. It goes directly through the chest regions and straight to the heart organs, thus leading to cardiac arrest or instant paralysis.  

In the medical world, it is called “ventricular fibrillation,” which is the primary cause of death in electric shock.

How many electrical fatalities are reported each year?

According to INDG 231(2), in 1998, they stated that “every year, there are about 1,000 accidents at work involving electric shock or burns that are reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). About 30 of these reported cases are fatal.


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