While water is not actually an electrical conductor, impurities consisting of minuscule elements (dust and minerals) suspended within it are. When electricity comes into contact with these minute particles, it will flow through them and subsequently the water as it would through a wire. So are there severe risks involved with leaving electrical cords in water?
Electrical cords and water
When electrical cords are allowed to drag in water, several things could happen. One is water running along the wire into the plug or into the electrical appliance at the other end of the cord. The other is water getting into the cord through tiny holes, tears or cuts in the insulating material.
Water and electrical cords
At best, either one of these instances will cause a short-circuit and blow a fuse. At worst, they could cause potentially serious injury by electrocution, fire or explosions. What’s more, the risk of injuries by electrocution would not be restricted to the immediate vicinity of the cord, but through the full expanse of the water it is dragging in.
The statement that it is safe to leave electrical cords dragging in water is therefore false.
One of the working environments where it is most likely for water and electrical wiring to mix is a kitchen. Here, electrical appliances tend to be used in close proximity to water at all times. It is therefore necessary to prevent accidents at work by ensuring:
- All kitchen staff are trained properly in safe working procedures
- Power outlets are at a safe distance from sinks (minimum distance horizontally: 30 cm/12 in)
- Appliances and wiring are kept in good, safe working order, tested regularly for safety and kept at a safe distance from water whenever possible
- Water hook-ups for dishwashers are installed safely and do not leak
RCDs (residual current devices) built into socket outlets or main switchboards can provide extra safety, as they rapidly switch off power supplies when faults in electrical systems are detected and subsequently minimise the risk of work accidents resulting in severe or possibly even fatal electricity-related injuries.
Accident Advice Helpline
If you sustained any kind of injury at work, whether it was related to electricity and water or not, you could be entitled to make a work injury claim if:
- Your injury was caused by a workplace accident for which someone else was responsible
- Your work-related accident occurred no longer than a maximum of three years ago
Give us a call on 0800 689 0500, or on 0333 500 0993 from a mobile, now to learn more about claiming industrial injury compensation.
Date Published: April 6, 2016
Author: Accident Advice