Injuries from Electromagnetic Energy

Stephen A. McCurdy

Key words: electrocution, electromagnatic energy, non-ionizing radiation, ionizing radiation

Injury occurs when body tissues are subjected to levels of energy outside the normal tolerance bands. Excessive energy damages tissues, potentially beyond repair, and disrupts normal physiologic functioning. Injury may also occur when inadequate energy is available, such as extreme cold leading to frostbite injury, or disruption of normal cellular energy systems such as asphyxiation. Energy may be in the form of mechanical energy (e.g., moving parts of machinery), chemical energy (e.g., caustic substances), heat, potential energy (e.g., working at heights; with a fall, the potential energy is converted into mechanical energy as the subject strikes the ground), and electromagnetic energy (e.g., electricity, radiation). The agricultural work environment contains many sources of energy, and agriculture is widely recognized as one of the most hazardous industries in the United States (1-4).

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