Why shouldn’t you touch electrical equipment with wet hands?

By February 1, 2017Uncategorized

Why shouldn’t you touch electrical equipment with wet hands?

All through our childhood, we were constantly reprimanded by our family not to touch any electrical equipment with wet hands. And somehow, while growing up, we all developed an inherent inhibition towards dealing with any electrical equipment with wet hands.  Your parents would have probably told you that a possible electrocution is a reason why you shouldn’t be touching any electrical equipment with wet hands. However, they do not tell you the reason why you are likely to be electrocuted. This article is going to break some myths. Read on to know the reason behind the phenomena

The Myth:

You are more likely to get electrocuted when you touch any electrical appliances with wet hands.

Origin of the myth:

When people touched door bells in the rainy season, they experienced a small shock, because of which they somehow assumed that the same phenomena apply across all equipment.

Truth:

You get electrocuted when switches are wet and not hands. The reason is that circuit gets completed between the conductors in the switch and your hands through the waters.
When you touch the switch only with your hands wet, there are 99% chances that the water will not be enough to seep into the switch and get the circuit complete for you to be electrocuted. In this way, your wet hand only touches the insulating plastic on the switch.

But when the switch is reasonably wet (due to rain or in the washrooms with the showers) then there is an 80% chance that the water is already touching the conductors within the plastic switch and is awaiting for your hand only to get you electrocuted.

You would have to barefooted on the ground to give the current an escape way or else it will still be an incomplete circuit, and you won’t get electrocuted.

Which is why people recommend you to wear rubber gloves and shoes/sandals while working with high voltages.
Modern switches are made of insulating material, and it would be extremely unlikely that you would get a shock from them by working on them with wet hands.
Now that you know that your wet hands won’t cause an electrical shock let us provide you with some more information

The resistivity of a human body will be approximately 1000ohms. Whenever live body touches the current passing wire and (not switches) with wet hands, they should feel shocked of that wire because wet hands are providing conducting path to the current to flow inside the live body from electrical wire. Some people don’t feel these shocks because of their higher body resistivity.
Hence you need to be careful with wet hands only when handling wires and not switches. Let’s stop scaring people with this dose of information.

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