picture of tangled wires

Electrical hazards exist in all workplaces, from large construction sites to the local village post offices. Electricity can severely injure and cause death, as well as causing excessive damage to buildings which is why it is important to take simple precautions to avoid the risk of injury to yourself and your colleagues at work.

Here is a brief guide on how to easily prevent some typical hazards which occur in the work place.

Misuse of Extension Cords

Extension cords as a whole are only intended to be a short term temporary power source as they can, if not used correctly, pose a major threat of fire and electrocution. One common misuse of extension cords is to overload them with too many devices which can cause the appliance to overheat and possibly cause a fire. You should ensure there is only one plug using a power source at one given time. Too many items plugged into the same power source can cause a power source to short circuit, creating sparks which may then lead to causing of a fire.

This can also occur when extension cords are placed across doorways and covered over by carpets or rugs. Constant walking over the leads ultimately results in them becoming damaged and unsafe.

When using an extension cable always ensure it is fitted with the correctly rated fuse for the appliance being used and remember if using a drum extension cable always unwind the entire cable to avoid overheating.

Poor Wiring

Electrical wiring accidents are one of the most common causes of hazards in the work place. Some of these risks include circuits being overloaded, wires not being connected properly and loose wire connections. All aspects of electrical wiring should be left to a qualified professional who is trained and licensed to carry out the work.

Overheated Appliances

Most forms of electrical items ranging from adapters to computers generate some form of heat. This can potentially pose a risk of fire if there is anything nearby which is flammable.
Any items which could easily catch alight must be kept away from any electrical equipment, electrical objects or cables. There should also be extra care taken to ensure wires and cables do not sit directly on top of carpets.

Water and Electricity DON’T mix!

Although this may appear an obvious statement, the dangers of sustaining an electrical shock become much greater when water is involved.

To alleviate the dangers of this occurring it is vital to install ground fault circuit interrupters in potentially wet environments. These work by cutting the power when a leak or current is detected.

Preventative Maintenance

All electrical equipment including portable appliances and installations should by law be tested and maintained in accordance with the Electricity and Work Regulations 1989.

Visual checks can be made by all employees to look for any obvious signs of potential hazards i.e a damaged cable, loose connection etc.

A more thorough in depth examination conducted using Portable Appliance Testing or PAT.

Some defects can only be picked up by portable appliance testing, while not every piece of electrical equipment is required to be tested by law, it is a way of ensuring any potential risks can be identified.

PAT also gives employers and employees peace of mind that the appliances they are using in the workplace are safe.

For a full range of PAT, electrical safety and hazard labels suitable for the workplace visit our website.

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