U.K. Linesmen's Experience of Microshocks on HV Overhead Lines

Y. Ahmed, S. M. Rowland

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Linesmen working on high voltage equipment occasionally report unpleasant discharges from equipment. The sensation is known as microshocks, which result from capacitive coupling of the linesmen to high voltage sources and subsequent discharging when in very close proximity to grounded objects. Often, this is just an annoyance, but the levels can become such that work has to cease. Microshocks are unpredictable, and therefore, planning maintenance work around them has not been possible. A survey has been developed to investigate and quantify different factors that may have a direct influence on the frequency and intensity of discharges. Transmission line workers (N = 102) from England and Wales participated in the survey and provided details of personal body characteristics as well as their experiences of microshocks. Survey results suggest a correlation between body mass index and certain work activities to the likelihood of a person experiencing microshocks, and their severity. Higher body mass index reduces the likelihood of experiencing painful microshocks. Climbing lattice towers adjacent to energized conductors is the area most associated with the phenomenon. Microshock incidents have increased or are occurring at the same rate as 5 years ago. Results presented will aid the development of policy statements and mitigation techniques that minimize linesmen's exposure to microshocks.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)475-482
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


    • Body mass index
    • Microshocks
    • Spark discharges
    • Survey
    • Transmission linesmen


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