License article

Shocking facts about everyday domestic appliances

They are lurking in your bedroom, kitchen and lounge room and have the ability to break your bones and even kill.

Dodgy appliances in NSW homes have contributed to more than 120 cases of electric shock in the past three months.

Two men died from shocks in the same period.

The rising number of shocks has sparked a warning from paramedics for people to be more wary of their electrical appliances.

NSW Ambulance Inspector Giles Buchanan said most electric shocks were caused by faulty appliances and power cords.

"We've had people who have received jolts from their fridge, toaster, microwave oven, hair straightener, computer - just about every household appliance," he said. "You can also be thrown across the room and this can also result in broken bones.''


Even mild shocks could cause serious injury and death, he said.

"Irrespective of the voltage, electric shock can be fatal,'' Mr Buchanan said.

''In the case of heart dysrhythmias - particularly if you are susceptible - that extra electrical charge can be enough to stop your heart.''

Most cases involved tradesmen, but many people were shocked trying to do handy work at home without taking proper precautions.

"They think they've got all the hazards covered but they haven't,'' Mr Buchanan said. ''They might have isolated the wrong board or something like that."

People were advised to keep alert for frayed cords, to keep children away from power sockets and to check where underground cables were before digging in the garden.

They think they've got all the hazards covered but they haven't.

Other ways to avoid shocks included turning power off before unplugging electrical goods and keeping hairdryers away from sinks, toilets and baths.

Ways people were shocked  

  • Touching the cord on a drink vending machine  

  • Hitting a power cable while digging in the garden  

  • Falling into an electricity provider’s hole 

  • Making toast

  • Using a DVD player  

  • Opening a microwave  

  • Using a hair straightener or dryer