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Old 11-10-2008, 09:45 PM   #1
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I was painting my bathroom and had the coverplate off of the light switch. My son picked up the metal paint can opener and stuck it into the switch box and made contact with the switch screw. It sparked, poped the breaker and welded the paint can opener to the switch. Could he have gotten killed from this???

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Old 11-10-2008, 10:24 PM   #2
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It is possible. Note that some kids like to stick things into electrical outlets and the like (like myself when I was a kid). They now have tamper resistant outlets which you might want to check into. Also might want to learn CPR.

Anyway I was shocked quite a few times as a kid and lived. Others have not been so fortunate.

Note that when I was a kid, my parents could have told me not to do that and I would have done it anyway! (I only did this when they were not looking...)

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Old 11-10-2008, 10:32 PM   #3
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Could he have gotten killed from this???
Possible but not likely if you house is wired correctly and the breaker did its job as it should. Your son most likely shorted the hot side to the box which I'm guessing was metal and grounded. A direct short should pop the breaker in an instant.
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Old 11-11-2008, 12:34 AM   #4
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Agreed, the breaker did its job. But yes, in the right circumstances, household current is more than enough to kill anyone. It only takes a few milliamps to stop your heart if the current travels through it, and the switch was probably on a 15 or 20 amp circuit.
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Old 11-11-2008, 06:18 AM   #5
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Possible but not likely if you house is wired correctly and the breaker did its job as it should. Your son most likely shorted the hot side to the box which I'm guessing was metal and grounded. A direct short should pop the breaker in an instant.

This is quite possibly the worst, most ignorant statement I have seen yet on this site!!!!!!

The breakers job has very little to do with keeping anybody from being electricuted. It is sized to protect the conductors it is feeding and in some cases the loads being fed, whether it be a 20 amp breaker or a 1200 amp breaker.

If the can opener contacted only the screw, or if the switch was mounted in a plastic box the breaker never would have tripped and your son's life would have been determined by if he was wearing shoes and what kind of floor he was standing on, or be what he had hold of in his other hand.

Please, Please for the love of God, of you don't know what your talking about, try your damned hardest not to respond to something you are completely clueless about.

Handyman? Enough said!

Do you moderators ever get worried that this site is going to get people killed?

Back again, I just can't seem to let this one go. Maybe somehow the mods could restrict the feedback on the electrical site, I mean it's not exactly like building a birdhouse or making windchimes now is it.

Last edited by Silk; 11-11-2008 at 06:25 AM.
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Old 11-11-2008, 07:12 AM   #6
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I had a tester that didn't read the voltage right, so I pulled the outlet out with one hand...ouch. Yes it is possible, a lot of deaths are from arm to arm electrocution. So when your not sure, test a lot and keep one hand in your pocket until you are sure its dead.
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:10 AM   #7
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metal paint can opener and stuck it into the switch box and made contact with the switch screw.
poped the breaker and welded the paint can opener to the switch. Could he have gotten killed from this???
If he was not grounded, no.

If he was grounded
and first touched the low side of the line with the opener, no.

If he was grounded
and first touched the high side of the line with the opener a few milliseconds
before it touched the low side of the line, possibly.
This would have been a very short duration shock, probably quicker than a GFI would have responded.
Did he feel a shock?

If his hands were wet or he is in poor health, the likelihood of electrocution goes up some.

Above 600v the skin punctures and then the likelihood of electrocution goes way up (if the current goes through the head or chest).

With 1300 people dying in the U.S. each year from electrocution, this is one of the least likely ways to die. Smoking-related causes is probably #1, with 1000 people meeting God every single day.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 11-11-2008 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:44 AM   #8
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:11 AM   #9
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retro, do you understand the difference between a general contractor and an electrician?
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:54 AM   #10
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The conditions required for an actual electrocution are very narrow. Shocks are quite easy, but a life ending electrocution requires that electricity travel across your heart. If your son had the can opener in one hand, and a grounded water line in his other, maybe. But even then, I still don't think it likely, because the can opener is not attached to the power source and could easily be removed. It usually occurs when the hands are gripping something that is live and the hands can't let go, such as holding the metal reflector of a spot lamp and a water line.

So, in your situation, I don't think so. And since he DID NOT get electrocuted, the chances are 100% that he wouldn't.
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Possible but not likely if you house is wired correctly and the breaker did its job as it should. Your son most likely shorted the hot side to the box which I'm guessing was metal and grounded. A direct short should pop the breaker in an instant.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silk View Post
This is quite possibly the worst, most ignorant statement I have seen yet on this site!!!!!!

The breakers job has very little to do with keeping anybody from being electricuted. It is sized to protect the conductors it is feeding and in some cases the loads being fed, whether it be a 20 amp breaker or a 1200 amp breaker.

If the can opener contacted only the screw, or if the switch was mounted in a plastic box the breaker never would have tripped and your son's life would have been determined by if he was wearing shoes and what kind of floor he was standing on, or be what he had hold of in his other hand.

Please, Please for the love of God, of you don't know what your talking about, try your damned hardest not to respond to something you are completely clueless about.

Handyman? Enough said!

Do you moderators ever get worried that this site is going to get people killed?

Back again, I just can't seem to let this one go. Maybe somehow the mods could restrict the feedback on the electrical site, I mean it's not exactly like building a birdhouse or making windchimes now is it.
I completly agree with this post.
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by InPhase277 View Post
The conditions required for an actual electrocution are very narrow. Shocks are quite easy, but a life ending electrocution requires that electricity travel across your heart. If your son had the can opener in one hand, and a grounded water line in his other, maybe. But even then, I still don't think it likely, because the can opener is not attached to the power source and could easily be removed. It usually occurs when the hands are gripping something that is live and the hands can't let go, such as holding the metal reflector of a spot lamp and a water line.

So, in your situation, I don't think so. And since he DID NOT get electrocuted, the chances are 100% that he wouldn't.
100%, I don't think so. Tell me if he would be electricuted if the can opener didn't touch the yoke or the metal box, and he was in the basement standing on concrete.

Being electricuted only means you are being shocked, it does not have to be fatal.

Dying isn't the only thing that can happen to you. An electrician that I worked with was electricuted by changing out a lamp where some moron had the shell wired to the hot side. He didn't die but he was out of work for nearly a year because the current cooked his muscles from the inside out. Another guy I worked with couldn't raise his arm up, he just holds it up against his stomach and the arm is all thin and withered because he got shocked/electricuted (I don't recall how it happened anymore).

So if you want to tell these people that it's unlikely that he could be electricuted, you are doing a big disservice to them. You can't possibly know all the different variables that could be involved in his possible grounding.

100% impossible, I don't think so.

By the way, I'm not a big safety freak. But I have been shocked/electricuted enough times that I have much more respect for electricity the older I get. But I still work Hot! Too late to teach an old dog new tricks.
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:07 PM   #13
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http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...+electrocution
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:15 PM   #14
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electrocute
Verb
[-cuting, -cuted] to kill or injure by an electric shock [electro- + (exe)cute]
electrocution n


I can cut and paste all day too. Notice the word injure
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Old 11-11-2008, 02:05 PM   #15
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Thanks for all your inputs. This is about the fourth time in my career where I've seen electricians get pissed off because some yahoo was trying to do electrical but didn't know what he was doing. (I'm not talking about myself)I haven't seen that from other trades. That only tells me that electricians take electricity very seriously and that I should respect it.

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