A Frenchman got an electric shock from the metallic handrail on a staircase in a Yau Ma Tei hotel and ended up in hospital.
The 35-year-old man said he experienced stiffness in his arm and felt dizzy after touching the handrail, Apple Daily reports.
Paramedics brought him to hospital in a wheelchair, accompanied by his wife and child.
Hotel security immediately wrapped the handrail in cloth while emergency technicians from the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department went to work.
They found a wire in the staircase that was not properly grounded and might have been mistakenly attached to the handrail.
Wan Koon-sun, chairman of the Hong Kong & Kowloon Electrical Engineering & Appliances Trade Workers Union, said earth wires are used to prevent electricity leakage.
Safety regulations require metallic objects with any electrical sockets within a two-meter range to be earthed, he said.
If a building is properly earthed, a circuit breaker will cut off electricity to affected areas in the event of a leakage.
But connecting earth wires to a metallic handrail is dangerous, he said.
Wan said many building owners use this method because the cost of concealing an earth wire inside a wall is substantially higher.
Lo Kwok-keung, an engineer from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said electric shocks could also be caused by naked wires.
An electric shock from a 220-volt power source could cause death, he said.
Paul Law, president of the International Professional Insurance Consulting Association, said victims could claim compensation from the building owner if the incident was caused by negligence.
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