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Effects of Electric Current on Human Body: Electrical Safety Guide

Electrical energy used in offices, workplaces, and homes can cause serious injury to people from electric shock. Electricity tends to form an easier closed path from power sources to the device and back to the power source, this is called an electrical closed loop. The current always tries to move or terminate the circuit with the shortest path.


Effects of Electric Current on Human Body: Electrical Safety Guide
Effects of Electric Current on Human Body

Effects of Electric Current on Human Body

When the human body encounters electrical energy, it serves as a conductor and forms the closest path to complete the circuit by grounding, resulting in an electric shock or burn affecting the nervous system and contracting the muscles, so the heart can stop beating cause heart failure.

The severity of electrical injuries depends on the amount of current flowing through the body, the shortest current path, the duration of contact, and the frequency of the current.


Human Resistance to Electric Current

Body Area/Condition

Resistance in Ohms

Dry Skin

1,00,000 to 600,000

Wet Skin


Internal Body (Hand to Foot)

400 to 600

Ear to Ear

About 100



Effects of current on a Human Body

Type of Current


AC 50Hz


AC 10,000 Hz

0-1 mA

0-5 mA

0-9 mA

No Sensation

1-8 mA

6-55 mA

10-55 mA

Mild Shock

9-15 mA

60-80 mA

60-80 mA

Painful shock

16-20 mA

80-100 mA

80-100 mA

Some loss of muscle control

20-45 mA

100-350 mA


Severe shock and loss of muscle control

50-100 mA

400-800 mA


Possible heart failure

Over 100 mA

Over 800 mA


Usually fatal

Severity of Electric Shock

The severity of injuries sustained in any given case due to electricity depends upon the following factors:

  • Type (AC or DC) of the current

  • Frequency of alternating current

  • Amperage of current

  • Circuit voltage

  • Path of the current through body and duration of electric shock

  • Resistance of the subject

  • Phase of cardiac cycle at which the current passes

  • Electrical quantities associated with human injury

  • Wet body 

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