Electrical risks putting employees in danger

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As a manager, it’s your responsibility to take care of your employees’ health and safety. This means providing them with a safe working environment and making sure all staff are mindful of electrical risk. From tending to broken appliances quickly to getting rid of older devices, here are a few ways to keep your employees safe.

Keep accurate maintenance records

All office equipment must be tagged and tested by a competent electrician to make sure that it’s safe. These tags clearly show the date of inspection, and when the device should be checked next.  Regular maintenance scheduling will extend the life of your tools and keep them compliant with safety regulations.

Keeping records can also help to identify any issues with appliances in use and remind you if they need replacing. Broken or unreliable appliances are more likely to cause accidents and should be removed immediately.

Replace older plugs and damaged power points

Power points and plugs have a long shelf life but will eventually need to be replaced. Older ones, particularly those cracking, yellowing or gathering dust, should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid a malfunction.

While older plugs may not show obvious signs of wear and tear, age can weaken internal wiring and increase the risk of electrical shocks or combustion. Broken power points also present a risk because they have a direct connection to mains power and contain dangerous live wires. Effective maintenance, combined with general observation, can help to keep track of devices more likely to cause harm.

Manage use of power outlets

Power points can be overloaded when multiple plugs are stacked within a single outlet. This often happens when there aren’t enough plugs available in a single outlet, but it can lead to overheating and equipment meltdowns.

Rather than resorting to plug stacking, employee equipment should be spread out over multiple outlets with certified power boards. These can provide energy for up to 8 devices and protect against unexpected power surges.

It’s also important when installing these power boards to leave enough room for heat to escape and avoid overheating or combustion.

Tie down any exposed cabling

Offices are filled with powered devices, including laptops and monitors, as well as kitchen appliances like microwaves and coffee makers. All those cables have to go somewhere – and they’re often not where they should be. Cables strewn about the office not only cause a trip hazard, they can also cause electrical damage when pulled from the wall without care.

Cables attached to devices should be stored away neatly and hidden where possible, under desks and away from harm. This can prevent damage to equipment and injury to employees.

Ensure workplace environments are clean and dry

Operating electrical devices in a damp or wet environment can cause serious risk in the workplace. Because water is such an effective conductor, any equipment operating around it should be water-safe.

In the case of a water leak or flood in-office, any affected equipment should be removed from the area – but only after power has been completely shut off. This equipment should not be used again until it’s been certified as safe by a licensed electrician.

While these steps will help to reduce electrical accidents and keep your employees safe, it’s also necessary to educate everyone in your workplace on how to act around electricity. Maintaining a high safety standard at work is a team effort, and one that should be worked towards by everyone in your business.

Want to show your commitment to electrical safety at work? Sign the Shock Factor pledge and share it around.