The Cheat Sheet - November 1994

cheat-sheet-logo2by Flip Michaels

This Could Kill You

No, not my column. "This" happens every day, and we are all guilty of it at some point in our careers; we forget just how dangerous electricity is. Some of RAP's readers have lost friends to it. Some might even have a story of their own. Did you know approximately 350 people die every year in work-related electrocutions? Deaths that could have been prevented.

I write with the belief that RAP readers all have a basic understanding of electricity. But with safety in mind, here's a very simplified review:

Three things are required for electric current to flow: 1) Source - generator that produces electrical power, 2) Load - whatever is using the power, and 3) A Connection between the two. A connection is whatever conductor is placed between the two. Seems pretty simple. We have a power source (wall outlets) and a load (our studio equipment) and the conductor (cables). What's the problem? The problem comes when you turn the system on and things go "buzzzzz." Don't touch a thing! NEVER ASSUME IT'S AN EASY FIX!!! Get your engineer. Why? Electricity kills.

Measured in amps: One thousandth of an amp (0.001 A or 1 milliamp) will produce a faint tingle. Five thousandths of an amp (0.005 A or 5 milliamps) is a slight shock. Five milliamps is the level that causes most people to jump. This is typically where injuries occur from the sudden involuntary reaction. A person will either hit something trying to get away or injure others (things being thrown or dropped). From six to thirty milliamps is called "freezing current." These shocks cause a loss of muscular control and are quite painful. Then there are electrocutions between 50 and 150 milliamps -- extremely painful. Respiratory arrest sets in, violent muscular contractions begin, and death is possible.

When shock occurs involving one amp of electricity, ventricular fibrillation sets in (the heart stops). We're talking nerve damage and death very probable. Shock involving anything more is quite evident!

Remember, in an electrocution, the conductor would be you. If all this talk about death disturbs you, I will not apologize! Be very aware that you could get killed. The only things that can protect you are the knowledge of precautions and sensibility of you and your co-workers. Whenever there is electricity, there is an opportunity for an electrocution. Do NOT let yourself become a statistic!

President Signs Radio Ad Law

President Hillary (oops!...), President Bill Clinton signed the National Association of Broadcasters-supported radio advertising bill into law...effective immediately. The law streamlines the length disclosures necessary for radio advertising of consumer leases -- just in time for the new car season campaigns!

For a complete legal analysis, call the NAB's "HelpFax" at (301) 216-1849 from the handset of your fax and follow voice instructions. Request document 3636.

Victim of E-Mail

Hey! Take it easy on the electronic gab line. Did you know your electronic messages can be used against you in court? Oliver North had testimony challenged after his E-mail messages were discovered. Microsoft VP, Jonathan Lazarus, was sued after he allegedly sent offensive messages.

Fact is, E-mail documents everything. The date and time sent. Who wrote it. Who read it. Managers, watch your E-mail. Most courts now treat E-mail evidence the same way they treat paper evidence. Asking for E-mail records is no different than asking for company files, memos, or other corporate material.

Common sense will help your staff avoid the legal wranglings of E-mail. Explain and educate them on what types of messaging the E-mail system should be used for and what is inappropriate, such as messages with discriminatory language or remarks that could constitute sexual harassment.

In short, E-mail is a (SFX: gun shot) smoking gun.

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