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Myths and Misconceptions about Electricity: Electrical Safety Guide

Misconceptions workers have about electricity can lead to serious accidents and property damage. In the workplace, there are many situations where a real danger can arise as workers have to deal with electrical equipment. However, as in all areas, there are many myths and misconceptions that carry over into the work environment, which is ultimately where experience forms.


Myths and Misconceptions about Electricity: Electrical Safety Guide
Myths and Misconceptions about Electricity

Myths and Misconceptions about Electricity

Misconceptions about electricity can lead to serious injury and death. Competency on the basis of qualification, knowledge and experience must be assessed for each people before authorizing to perform any electrical work.  Supervisors must make sure their employees are competent enough to work safely with and around electricity. The goal of this article is to promote correct information in the workplace.

The following table presents some of the most common myths and misconceptions, as well as the facts:





Electricity takes the path of least resistance. It implies that current only takes low-resistance path.

In fact, current will take any path, high or low resistance, in order to return to the source that provides its power.


Electricity wants to go to ground. It is believed that electricity wants to go to ground and simply disappear.

In reality, ground serves as just one of the electrical loops that misdirected current can use to go back to grounded power source.


If an electrical appliance or tool falls in to a sink or tub of water, the item will short out and trip the circuit breaker.

When an electrical tool or appliance falls in to water, it does not short out. If switch is ‘ON’, the item will continue to operate. If switched ‘OFF’, it will simply get wet.

(Safety Note: Do not reach into the water to retrieve the appliance or tool as water serves as an electrical conducting path and may cause electric shock to person and lead to severe or even fatal shock)


AC reverse polarity is not hazardous

The power tools, attachment plugs and receptacles should be properly wired so as not to reverse the designated polarity. Many tools have switches in only one of the two conductors supplying power to the item. The switch must be on the “hot” conductor supplying the power. If the tool is plugged in to a receptacle with reverse polarity and accidentally dropped in to water, all of the internal wiring will be energized.


It takes high voltage to cause serious injury or 120 volts is not dangerous.

Current is the culprit that causes injury. Voltage just determines by what means. Under the right condition, voltage as low as 60 volts can also cause serious injury. Respect all voltages as having potential to kill.


Double insulated power tools are doubly safe and can be used in wet and damp locations.

Read the manufacturer’s operating instructions carefully. Double insulated power tools can be hazardous if dropped in to water. Electrical current can flow out of the power tool in to water.


People may mistakenly consider a person who is unconscious after getting an electric shock, as dead.

It should not be. In all such cases medical assistance should be obtained.


All electrical work must be carried out by competent electrician as misconceptions about electricity can lead to serious accidents and property damage. Electrical Safety Procedure and equipment inspection checklist must be implemented to control over electrical risk in workplace. Proper training and education help to avoid misconception about electricity and to ensure the safe workplace.

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