A Shocking Undersea Tale B-168
Did you know that the South American electric eel can grow to five feet long, weigh as much as 40 pounds and produce an electrical discharge that can stun a diver?
It’s a fact! The South American eel is not really an eel at all but a true fish that is related to the carp. It has three electric organs: a small one at the tip of its tail used for navigation and another small one used as a trigger for the third blockbuster organ that produces the lightning-like discharge that kills its prey.
This strange creature, one of more than 200 species of fish, uses electricity by generating and discharging currents either in bursts or steady electric fields around its body. Depending on the species, they may use this energy to find and attack their prey, for defense or for communication and navigation.
These skates, rays, eels and other unusual denizens of the deep live and die by the effectiveness of their in-house batteries. Scientists have discovered that sharks, porpoises and some other species have extremely sensitive electric receptors that help them detect and avoid their high- powered salt-water neighbors.
Just like the receptors that protect sharks against the South American eel, we have our own systems in place to keep electricity where it belongs.
*Always lock out and tag out. We have lock out systems that are virtually foolproof when everyone follows the proper procedure. Disregarding these systems can lead to injuries and fatalities.
*Look before you reach. You might not see energized parts, so don’t reach into machinery. Make sure there is adequate lightning and scan the area carefully before you put your hands there.
*Use protective shields, barriers and insulating materials. These safety precautions can help prevent accidental contact that could result in tragedy.
*Check power tools. Don’t use power tools with broken plugs or defective insulation and always make sure tools are properly grounded before you use them.
*Watch out for water. Never use electrical equipment or tools in a wet environment without the proper protection or an insulating mat.
Electricity can strike in a flash! Beware!
You risk shock, burns, explosions and fire.
*Copyright 2003 Harkins Safety (B168)