Nevermind the afterburn

I made a shocking discovery.

Earlier today I discovered the startling end-product of the happenstance meeting of certain physical conditions. The experiment was unwittingly conducted at work. In the effort of sharing knowledge in the scientific setting of open disclosure, I will review with you how you too can repeat this experiment to verify and validate its results.

The instructions are as follows:

  1. unwittingly place the calf of your left leg against the metal power receptacle box on the wooden post to your left
  2. with your right hand, grab the plastic handle of a phillips-head screwdriver
  3. with your left hand, hold the metal shaft of the screwdriver and guide the tool towards the steel screw which you intend to drive into the cutter machine for the goal of remounting the protective plastic cover after a repair
  4. now touch the screw and enjoy the electrocution for three long seconds
  5. jump back, curse, swear, shake left hand and left leg as you embarrassingly explain to confused coworkers what just transpired

I admit that there are certain assumed hazards of working with printshop machinery. I’ve accepted those risks, and in my 11+ years of working around such equipment I’ve broadly avoided incident. But, apparently, this situation was possibly a case of bad wiring in the power box. The cutter runs on 220 volts, the power outlet on the post supplies 110. It’s unknown if I got 220 or 110 volts coursing through my left side, but it didn’t feel good at all. I am fine now, thankfully, but still I tingled for a half hour afterwards. Later in the day I used a voltmeter and tried to prod around to find what the voltage differential was between the two points I had been the unwitting wire between, but could find nothing. I’ll try again tomorrow.

I brought it up to the bossman at the end of the day, and although he was glad I was ok, he expressed some good concern about the potential for electric shock in the tight walkspace between machines. I joked with a coworker earlier in the day that the shock may have set my heart’s circuitry back right again. He laughed.

That was the worst shock I’ve gotten this side of, “Shawn, we don’t need you anymore,” two years ago. Heh.

You kids enjoy your experiments. I’ll expect your lab books on my desk by monday. Good luck.

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?