One for the engineers amongst you, when is a shock electrical? I walked into an incident at work yesterday with a sub contractor alleging that he had received an electric shock. Unfortunately the mad world of health and safety cannot distinguish between those two words. I think this is because they don’t have enough experience, perhaps we should shock some? Those that have received an electric shock will know exactly what it feels like. But they will also know how easy it is to confuse it with other causes of muscle spasms.
That sharp splinter of steel or stray conductor that gives you a shock without electricity. This is an area that is all about perception. If you are working around electrical circuits, and especially if you are not comfortable in such an area, all shocks are electric. Low power electric shocks offer no evidence, no wounds or ill effects to bear testimony to their occurrence. So when an ‘electrically timid’ guy gets a shock from a sharp edge we have to investigate the electric shock, we know he couldn’t have recieved.
When I started in industry electric shocks were rarely reported since they were considered to be your own mistake. Anything that didn’t knock you out was dealt with by application of coffee and chocolate (blood sugar). I appreciate that there is a need to report more but we have gone too far when there is no way for me to report ‘couldn’t happen’. Instead I have to describe what would need to have failed and demonstrate that it didn’t. You see, in the world of health and safety, even physics is not above challenge.
For me the last question in the health and safety report sums the nanny state up. ‘What have you done to prevent recurrence?’ How can I prevent recurrence of a non occurrence? The closest I could come would be education but then I need to detail which course. I shall be campaigning for the reporting to include an option for ‘told him to man up’ but I fear I won’t be successful, perhaps it’s back to enforced experience . . .