Will rubber-soled shoes protect you from an electric shock?

25 July 2010

Question

A friend of mine was going to use a metal knife to free some stuck toast from the toaster. He’s always been told this is a huge no, no, but he said it would all be fine because he had rubber-soled shoes on. So is it true that rubber-soled shoes will protect you from an electric shock?

Answer

Dave: - I think the simple answer is it is possible they would protect you from an electric shock, but it's not something I would ever recommend because it's only "possible". If you have a big, thick rubber sole then you're quite insulated from the ground, and if there's no path for electricity to flow through, you won't get a big current going through you, so you'll be fine. It's essentially a similar reason to why birds can sit on an electricity cable. They might be sitting on a very high voltage, but there's no path for electricity to get down to earth through them so they're absolutely fine, there's no current flowing.

So, as long as you're just standing on your shoes you're not touching anything else, your feet aren't wet so they're not creating a short path around the rubber soles to the ground, and you're not accidentally touching anything metallic - If you were touching the outside of a toaster which might be earthed then you might get a horrible current going through the knife, up your arm, then down the other arm, then you might be okay. But there's so many things that could possibly go wrong, so unplug the toaster first.

Ben: - I think that sounds like a sound advice, and that by and large, don't stick metal things in electrical appliances.

Comments

Simply unplug it. No hazard anymore

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