Am I in danger?

Thread Starter


Joined Nov 17, 2011
I work in a cafe. The electrical power to the coffee machine has been run from the kitchen, above ground to the counter which is approximately a meter from the kitchen wall, perpendicular to the counter. It's in a conduit and covered by a rubber mat. When I'm making coffee I sometimes stand directly above the cabling. I have an inkling that this is not a good thing. Does anyone know if it's harmful to stand on electrical cabling? Of course, I'm also in contact with the coffee machine all day, so hands and feet are in constant contact. I'm female and often dehydrated as I drink too much coffee. I understand sex and hydration can play a part in residual current.

What do you think?


Joined Jul 17, 2007
If it is in a steel conduit (like it should be according to the electrical code for a commercial building) then it's fully shielded (grounded); even if a short circuit developed inside the conduit, you wouldn't be affected.

If the conduit was installed above the floor so that there is a bump, that is a trip hazard (safety issue) and needs to be addressed. Tripping and falling can cause serious injuries.

Try alternating cups of coffee with glasses of water. Too much caffeine is not good for you at all. I drink a LOT of water every day.


Joined Jul 3, 2008
What do you think?
It's not clear if you are worried about electrocution, as mentioned by SgtWookie, or if you are worried about harm from field effects from being too close to the wires and machines.

The shock hazzard depends on the details related to following electrical codes, while the field effects hazard is a controvertial issue and area of research. Personally I'm not aware of any conclusive research that shows standing on or touching household or light commercial electrical devices, properly installed, is significantly harmful to either sex.

With regards to sex, the issue of pregnancy might be the main concern. If pregnant, I wouldn't recommend letting your belly touch cables runs or microwave ovens. Not that there is conclusive evidence of harm, but it just seems like a sensible precaution.


Joined Oct 26, 2011
Regarding residual (leakage) current, females are more susceptible to shock hazards than males--temporary paralysis being about 9mA for females vs 15mA for males.

For enhanced safety, even ungrounded (improperly installed) appliances must have ground leakage currents measuring less than 5mA in order to obtain agency approvals.

Avoid fluoridated water.
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Joined May 28, 2009
You might want to check to make sure the extension cord is plugged in to a Ground Fault Circuit Interruptor (GFCI) receptacle. If not, that is a major OSHA violation in a workplace environment.