Almost every workplace will have some sort of electrical device and with electrical fires accounting for around 33% of accidental fires at work, ensuring you follow some basic safety tips can drastically reduce the likelihood of a fire or any other electrical related incident.
Avoid fire hazards
As previously mentioned, electrical fires are a real concern for businesses, but there are some simple things you can do. Avoid placing paper or card or any other flammable material around an electricity source or close to equipment that gets hot.
You should routinely check power outlets and cables as warmth or heat is often a sign of unsafe wiring.
All electrical equipment must be PAT safe. Whilst not a legal requirement, it is advisable to keep records of items that have been inspected or tested. If you notice cords with exposed wiring, they should be safely disposed of and replaced immediately.
If you’re using extension cords, then make sure they’re rated for the current level of the equipment that will be plugged into them and keep cords organised and away from damp, heat, and sharp edges.
It’s not just cables you should be aware of but plugs and sockets too. Before plugging electrical items into sockets, make sure the plugs are designed to fit the sockets and that there is the right current level.
Avoid overloading circuits and continuously check for any loose-fitting plugs or covers.
Use warning signs
Make use of warning signs so people are aware of the hazards. This could be anything from reminding employees to turn off electrical devices at the end of the day, switching off lights, to the safe storage of loose cables.
If you have a communal kitchen at work with a kettle instead of a hot water tap, a warning sign about the dangers of combing water with electricity should also be put up in the vicinity.
To ensure the ongoing safety of employees and the workplace, adequate training should be carried out. Employees should be reminded to take care when handling electrical cords properly by not pulling on the cord and to avoid wrapping the cord tightly.
They should also be made aware of the signs that a piece of equipment, including light bulbs and switches aren’t performing properly and who to report to.
Install physical barriers
The easiest way to protect employees and workplaces is by installing a physical barrier around electrical equipment. This could be a cupboard around a fuse box or even a sign around an electrical panel.
If a cabinet cannot be used, then creating a shield with insulating materials should be considered instead.