Brief contact with a properly functioning electrical fence is unlikely to be fatal. Death associated with an electric fence is rare and requires a careful investigation.

Factors to consider when investigating a death associated with an electrical fence:

(1) evidence of electric fence malfunction

(2) evidence of exposure to water at the same time as the electric fence

(3) evidence for underlying cardiac disease and/or history of cardiac arrhythmia

(4) evidence for a cause of death unrelated to the electric fence

(5) evidence of skin discoloration or burns consistent with electrical injury


Burke et al give a complete method for examining the electrical fence for malfunction.


The standards for agricultural electric fences assumes a momentary exposure. A person who becomes entangled in a fence may be exposed to a greater amount of electricity.

To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.