A forensic electrical investigation involves the use of physical evidence - fire, electrical failure, or arson - in correlation with scientific theory and feasible experience, in order to determine the fact about an event. Forensic electrical engineers investigate mishaps in the fabrication, installation, and maintenance of electrical gadgets and systems. They determine the root cause of various electrical hazards, analyze the existing damage, and take remedial actions. Forensic electrical engineering investigations cut across the use of electrical and electronic systems on industrial, commercial, private, and agricultural properties, equipment, transformers, power systems, vehicles, and ships.
What Makes Forensic Investigation Valuable?
Forensic electrical engineers conduct investigations by documenting current conditions and the retainment of evidence. The quicker they have access to an incident site, the more valuable their investigation and analysis become. Over time, the quantity and quality of the evidence vanish in bits. Experience has an important role to play in the collection of evidence and analysis of the existing situation. However, there is always a room for open-mindedness and possibilities that are contributing factors toward an electrical or fire accident. With the pieces of evidence gathered, theories are being formed and case scenarios are generated to help understand the situation and the roles of certain key players in such an accident.
Business owners, facility managers, attorneys, insurance companies, among others, constantly seek forensic electrical engineering services. These investigators are called to analyse and resolve mind-boggling electrical accidents contributing to electrocution or shock, as well as electrical equipment malfunctions and fires. A forensic investigator can look into an arson-related crime; they determine the nature of the fire. There are four major injuries that forensic electrical engineers look into:
- Bodily injury
- Defects in design and construction.
- Property or equipment damage
- Interruption of business
Types Of Bodily Injuries That Are Sustained
Bodily injuries from electrical accidents are of four types: electric shock, electrocution, burns, and falls. For electric shock and electrocution, the victim has to come in contact with the electrical source. For example, an individual may mistakenly brush some protruding naked wires on the wall with his left arm and sustain injuries from the electrical shock. Clearly note that there is a difference between electric shock and electrocution. Individuals that get shocked come out alive. However, those that are electrocuted barely make it. Our bodies are great conductors of electricity. For this reason, one can be electrocuted to death as a result of the amount of current (amperes) that passes through the body and the time it takes, not really the voltage.
An electric current with 1/10th of one ampere (100 milliamps) has a high tendency to be fatal. Close proximity to an arc flash can also inflict thermal burns on the body. It is also hazardous as it can cause imbalance and fall from ladders, scaffolds, and other high places.
How Can You Stay Safe From Electrical Hazards?
Organizations must adhere to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This safety organization set safety standards that help employees, employers, visitors, and other individuals avoid injuries and protect themselves with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).