I have a US-style power strip that is thin enough that plugs can overhang the edge. It is easy to do this accidentally.

I think that if you were to overhang a plug, and then accidentally touch the plug with one hand and a grounded object like the radiator pipe with the other, you would be creating a circuit like:

enter image description here

The safety page on my oscilloscope manual warns that 30 V AC (rms) can cause a fatal 30 mA AC (rms) current through a human body, so presumably the 120 V AC wall power can drive 120 mA AC; at which point the average resistance of the human would be 1 kOhm. If the appliance were a 60 W light bulb, it would be 240 Ohms, reducing the current to 97 mA AC, still fatal.

So, my best guess is that this power strip is unsafe. Is this correct?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ So are you essentially asking "Is touching live mains electricity unsafe"? \$\endgroup\$
    – PlasmaHH
    Nov 30, 2016 at 15:51
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Converting humans and appliances into pure resistances is not a precise model to estimate the current that would go through a person and therefore its potential fatality. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wesley Lee
    Nov 30, 2016 at 15:55
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Its not clear to me what you mean by "plugs can overhang the edge". Perhaps you could add a photo to better illustrate this. \$\endgroup\$
    – brhans
    Nov 30, 2016 at 15:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Owen I think that what you mean is that you can plug just 1 pin of the plug into the socket, the other pin is free. Is that right? \$\endgroup\$
    – Steve G
    Nov 30, 2016 at 16:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SteveG Yes, that is what I wanted to say. Thank you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Owen
    Nov 30, 2016 at 16:21


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