Grounding – How Can a Person Standing on a Floor Tile and Holding Live Equipment Complete the Circuit?


Can someone please explain the how grounding / earthing to prevent a person from getting electrical shock using simple illustration of a faulty electric iron connected to the 240VAC mains?

I don't understand how a person standing on the floor tile in the house and holding a live equipment can complete the circuit for current flow. Where is the connection from the ground to the back to the equipment?

Best Answer

The main point of grounding a line-powered appliance is to electrically "box up" the dangerous parts. If, for example, a "hot" wire comes loose inside the appliance and touches the metal case, the current will flow thru the ground connection to that case. That will blow a fuse, trip a breaker, or trigger the ground fault interruptor if that line is equipped with one.

If the case weren't grounded, then the same loose wire now puts the case at the hot potential. If you come along and touch it and something else grounded, like a faucet, at the same time, the full 220 V is now applied across your body.

You are right that touching just a hot wire without touching anything else conductive won't hurt you. Presumably the "tile" floor you are talking about is made of insulating material. However, the reason this is unsafe is that often you are not completely insulated from everything else. If you touch the faulty appliance and happen to brush against a water faucet, the case of your desktop computer, a radiator, or any other appliance that is ground, you can be seriously hurt. Even a concrete floor can carry enough current to be dangerous.