The 2 Main Reasons Why Electricians Get Shocked (And How to Avoid Them)

5 Common Reasons Why Electricians Get Shocked (and How to Avoid)

Getting shocked is regrettably one of those things, that are hard to avoid if you are working as an electrician. There are typically two main reasons why electricians get shocked. In this article, we will explain the main reasons why electricians can experience getting shocked.

The main reason why electricians get shocked is if they are not following safety procedures and are working under pressure. To avoid getting shocked as an electrician includes your ability to abide by the Electrical Codes and Standards and being able to thoroughly test for power in electrical components.

In this article, you will learn about the two most common reasons why electricians get shocked, and how this could in theory be easily avoided by following the appropriate guidelines.

Why Do Electricians Get Shocked?

The most common reason why electricians get shocked is mostly if they are not following the safety practices in the national electrical code and standards. In electrical trade school and on the job electricians are being provided with the knowledge of safety procedures, that one should follow at all times.

There can be other reasons as to why electricians could experience getting shocked in their daily work life. Sometimes it is their own fault, for not being alert. And other times it might be because of a miscommunication with either colleagues or customers. These are just some of the reasons, and in this section, you will get to know the two main reasons why electricians get shocked. Not following safety procedures and working under pressure.

Also Read: How to stay safe as an electrician

Not Following Electrical Safety Procedures

Just because you have been working as an electrician for some time, doesn’t mean that you cant make mistakes. Even if you think that every safety precaution has been made, you may have forgotten something during the task. The electrical safety standards are rich in content and mistakes can be made along the way. The main thing an electrician need is to make sure that no electrical power is currently present in the electrical installation.

First of all, 99.99 percent of the time, an electrician has absolutely no excuse to not turn off the power while working on an electrical installation. Sure, you will get the job done much more quickly, but you will also put both yourself and your colleagues at risk of getting electrocuted. Even worse is the situation if an apprentice is working with a journeyman, who doesn’t take the safety procedures seriously. In that case, an electrician apprentice should seek to be matched up with a real professional.


Depending on the work task, there are specific safety protocols, that an electrician should abide by. These are some of the following important standards that an electrician should follow:

  • Turning off the power in the related curcuit breaker in the electrical panel
  • Turning off the main breaker if nessecary
  • Making sure that the power cannot be turned of with a proper lock
  • Marking the electrical panel with a warning sign for customers and other electricians
  • Testing the electrical components with a multimeter (for example power and lamp outlets)

One common reason that electrician gets shocked is when other electricians turn on the current sub-panel (circuit breaker), that is being worked on. To make sure, that it doesn’t happen is to have a proper lock and warning sign, that tells other people, that an electrician is currently at work. For example, if the electrician is replacing a power outlet, and the power is accidentally turned on, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what might happen. The danger can be further magnified if there are no Residual Current Devices (RCD) installed.

Here is an excellent video introduction to an electrical panel and how the different components works.

Working Under Pressure

There is oftentimes a common denominator for why electricians get shocked. And that is if the electrician is working under pressure, and will by consequence not have the ability to stay alert in their tasks. This pressure can come from either the employer, the customer, or even the electrician him- or herself.

If an electrician is working under too much pressure, that is a sign of the assignment being too complex and that the timeline given is not compatible with the real world. Related to this, the pressure can also come from tight deadlines and unrealistic budgets. Feeling pressure when working as an electrician can become even more devastating if you are the sort of person, who always wants to impress your employer and as a consequence puts yourself at risk.

Also Read: Is being an electrician stressful?

You should remember that, even when working under a timeline, you have nothing that is more important than your own health and longevity. It is simply not worth it to risk your (and your colleagues) well-being just because you want to get a job done quickly. Remember, you also have to work tomorrow, the next week and next year.

Most electricians will feel some kind of pressure in their work life. But if it becomes a dominating factor, and if that is leading to you not following safety procedures and in the worst case getting shocked, you have to take a step back.


The first thing an electrician should do is to recognize what is causing the pressure. Is it due to a deadline, budget constraints, or something else? Once you know what the cause of the stress is then you can take steps to reduce its impact on your work or your life.

For example, if you are feeling stressed because of an upcoming deadline then you may want to break down the project into smaller tasks that are more manageable for you. If budget constraints are causing pressure then maybe it’s time for a conversation with your boss about how it could be more realistic. Here are some boiled-down bulletpoint on how to reduce the amount of pressure in your daily work tasks as an electrician.

  • Break down the work of the electrical assignements into managable tasks.
  • Provide a more realistic timeline of the work to your employer.
  • If the task is too complex, get help.

Final Thoughts on the Reasons Why Electricians Get Shocked

Not following the national electrical safety guidelines (the Electrical Codes and Standards) and working under pressure are typically the two main reasons why electricians will get shocked. Many electricians work for multiple decades while only experience getting electrocuted a few times, but is belongs to the rare instances where an electrician never gets in touch with electrical power. Some other common reasons as to why electricians get shocked are:

  • Faulty electrical components.
  • Rushing or cutting corners.
  • Overestimating ones own ability.
  • Simply, good old bad luck.

If an electrician is being properly educated, he or she will both have the knowledge and understanding of tools to never get shocked. Getting shocked can also make an electrician more aware of the potential danger that is involved in the electrical work. This will in most cases initiate a certain respect for electrical power and hopefully result in a more cautious approach with the daily electrical tasks.