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FAQ

1) Which is safer; alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC)?
Alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) have slightly different effects on the human body, but both are dangerous above a certain voltage. The risk of injury changes according to the frequency of the AC, and it is common for DC to have an AC component (called ripple). Someone with special equipment can measure this, but the effect on a particular person is very difficult to predict as it depends upon a large number of factors. As a consequence you should always avoid contact with high-voltage electrical conductors, regardless of the type of electrical current they are carrying.
2) Everyone gets a 'belt' from electricity every now and then, don't they?
No, not if they are careful and follow the simple rules to securely isolate electrical equipment, and check it is dead before they start work. If you received an electric shock but were not injured then you were lucky. Next time a slight change in events may lead to a very different result. No-one is immune to injury from electricity.
3) How often should I test my electrical equipment?
lectrical equipment should be visually checked to spot early signs of damage or deterioration. Equipment should be more thoroughly tested by a competent person often enough that there is little chance the equipment will become dangerous between tests. Equipment used in a harsh environment should be tested more frequently than equipment that is less likely to become damaged or unsafe.
4) What voltages are dangerous?
A wide range of voltages can be dangerous for different reasons. A very low voltage (such as that produced by a single torch battery) can produce a spark powerful enough to ignite an explosive atmosphere. Batteries (such as those in motor vehicles) can also overheat or explode if they are shorted.

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