Electrical Shock from Electrophoresis Unit

Key Instruction Points

Do not work around energized, exposed conductors. 

A laboratory worker received a potentially fatal electrical shock when he accidentally touched a high voltage electrical connector on an electrophoresis device. The contact points were on the right elbow and right knee. Had one of the contacts been on the opposite side of the body, the shock could have been fatal.  

The primary cause of this incident was the existence of an exposed high voltage conductor in the form of a stackable banana plug at the device. When connected to the male plug on the device, the male connector plug was left exposed with no insulation or guarding.  

The accident could have been avoided by eliminating all exposed conductors in connector cords and electrophoresis devices by either

  • fitting each electrophoresis with its own set of permanently attached connector cords to eliminate jacks and plugs entirely at this point; or

  • eliminating cords with stackable plugs on both ends by replacing the stackable plugs on one end with a female only jack (all electrophoresis devices should be fitted with male only plugs).