How does high-voltage alternating current cause electrical injuries?

Updated: Mar 09, 2020
  • Author: Tracy A Cushing, MD, MPH, FACEP, FAWM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Answer

High-voltage injuries most commonly occur from a conductive object touching an overhead high-voltage power line. In the United States, most electric power is distributed and transmitted by bare aluminum or copper conductors, which are insulated by air. If the air is breached by a conductor, (eg, an aluminum pole, antenna, sailboat mast, crane), any person touching the conductor can be injured. Occupational injuries may include direct contact with electrical switching equipment and energized components.


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