J Korean Soc Emerg Med.  2010 Apr;21(2):259-265.

High Voltage Electrical Injury and Prevention

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Hanil General Hospital, Korea Electric Power Medical Corporation, Seoul, Korea. oceanpyo@empal.com
  • 2Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Hanil General Hospital, Korea Electric Power Medical Corporation, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Surgery, Hanil General Hospital, Korea Electric Power Medical Corporation, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

PURPOSE
High voltage electrical injury mainly occurs in the industrial field. It can cause serious complications and sequelae that lead to high social and economic costs. We investigated the causes of this to try to help prevent these injuries.
METHODS
We reviewed 128 patients who incurred high voltage electrical injury during a 3-years period from Jan. 1, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2008. We performed a retrospective analysis of the medical records to review the epidemiology. We also performed a survey by telephone. The survey questions addressed the following: the duration of work, wearing safety equipment, the reason for working without safety equipment, did they receive safety education, was the safety education adequate, recognition of a high tension wire before working and did they understand the effect of high voltage on the human body.
RESULTS
The safety education was relatively carried out well. But most patients did not wear safety equipment even though they knew they had to wear it (92%). The major reason was discomfort of wear it (72%). The hand was the most common injury site (80%). Most injuries occurred with 22,900 volt or less (92%). In spite of safety education, many patients were unaware of the effects of electrical injury on their body.
CONCLUSION
Strengthened safety education can play a significant role in preventing high voltage electrical injury. At this point, the doctors who are experienced in treating high voltage electrical injury must actively participate in this safety education. We suggest that handy safety equipment can lessen the incidence of high voltage electrical injury. It is essential to develop a handy safety glove for 22,900V with considering that the hand was the most common injury site and the most frequent voltage for injury was 22,900 volt or less.

Keyword

Electric injuries; Protective devices; Safety management; Education
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