I was reading this question: How much voltage is "dangerous"? and it seems to me that in the right conditions, connecting yourself to a live outlet is perfectly okay.

I am in the United States, 120v hot lines @ 60Hz. Let's say the following are using your right hand/arm. So no circuit completed through the heart.

If I stuck a fork in the "hot" line an outlet, and touched it with a finger, R of body is about 40k ohms, so 120/40000=3mA. I would barely feel this.

Even if I grabbed the fork, R of body is about 15k ohms, so 120/15000=8mA. This would hurt just a bit!

Is my math here correct? Is this activity actually safe? The linked question says the induced currents would be fine.

I know there are other circumstances that change the body's resistance, but I am just considering the circumstances mentioned above.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Looks like your mind closes down on that fork fallacy with the sudden snap and tenacious grip of a steel trap! \$\endgroup\$ – jonk Jul 29 '18 at 5:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is this your entry form for a Darwin Award? Really, don’t touch any circuit which has more than 3v.... \$\endgroup\$ – Solar Mike Jul 29 '18 at 6:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is running across a busy road blindfolded a dangerous act? \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Jul 29 '18 at 10:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sure it's safe, use a plastic fork! \$\endgroup\$ – Jasen Jul 29 '18 at 10:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Death from 12V DC (across the chest) has happened. 50VDC hand to hand is usually safeish but death could happen. 110 VAC mains will happily kill you, if allowed. \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Jul 29 '18 at 13:48

No, you can absolutely be seriously injured, or killed under the right (or wrong) circumstances.


The actual resistance of the body varies depending upon the points of contact and the skin condition (moist or dry). Between the ears, for example, the internal resistance (less the skin resistance) is only 100 ohms, while from hand to foot is closer to 500 ohms. The skin resistance may vary from 1000 ohms for wet skin to over 500,000 ohms for dry skin.

Reference: https://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~p616/safety/fatal_current.html

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure, but in the circumstances I have mentioned it seems find. Is this not correct? \$\endgroup\$ – Hurricane Development Jul 30 '18 at 1:10

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