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Getting Shocked

I've been shocked by multiple voltages in my short career. Any of those shocks could've made my career even shorter if I didn't have enough resistance to remove myself from from the amperage of the circuit. Most of the work that I do now will allow me to turn off a circuit before getting hurt. As a leader, owner, and master electrician, I preach safety to anyone who doesn't understand the risks.

The first time that I got shocked was in 2014. I hadn't been out in the field long. I was working in DC at a newly built building. We were installing LED lighting for offices with aircraft cable. The wiring was MC. With my inexperience, I used my voltage tester to verify that the circuit was off. I did not know at the time that those testers don't have the ability to test for power in that type of cable. I cut off the jacket. As I was trying to install the connector, I got hit with 277V through my glove. I was able to let go quickly and get off the ladder safely. The palm of my left hand was burnt. It stayed that way for a few weeks. I was not working with experienced people on that job.

The next time that I got shocked was in 2016. We were removing an old lamp post in front of a home. It was to be replaced. The concrete was poured over the existing wiring. We didn't have access to the inside of the house at the time. My journeyman told me to try to pick up the base of the pole after we had chipped some of the concrete out. I grabbed the concrete base and took a 120V shock. The ground was moist that morning. The conditions made that shock feel so much worse than my first shock. It took me half the day to feel somewhat back to normal.

The next time that I got shocked was back in 2019. I was working at a Lowe's. I was sent there to replace an emergency ballast for a light over the shopping cart location. I could not reach over a space to fully remove this ballast. The light couldn't be taken down either. The company that I worked for didn't equip me with the proper tools to locate and turn off this circuit. I ended up getting hit with 277V again. This shock was pretty bad. The doctors were worried about my elevated kidney levels after the shock. Everything went back to normal after a week.

I've been lucky to avoid serious damage or death. There are so many others who don't get to go home due to shocks and electrocution. As an electrician, we know some of the risks. We try to do things to stay safe. There are many things that are beyond our control. I try to do the best that I can to make it home to my family.

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