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5 Top Tips to Maintaining Electrical Safety in the Office

Office safety

Here’s 5 top tips to maintaining electrical safety in the office from PDU Online. As many companies begin to return to work what electrical safety considerations do you need to be aware of?

Many companies are making necessary workspace changes as their employees return to work following the Covid 19 pandemic. Maintaining electrical safety when moving desks and work stations around is important. Alterations to create social distancing may be considered to be temporary. However, temporary should not equal dangerous when it concerns the health and safety of staff.

I.T. equipment and other electrical appliances may need to be moved and repositioned to create the necessary space. An assessment of the potential hazards should then be undertaken to ensure fit- for-purpose power distribution units (PDUs) are used. The considerations;

  • Ensuring Compliance to Legislation
  • Competency
  • Power Leads & Cords
  • Total Loading on Socket Extensions
  • Use of PDUs & Appliances

Ensuring Compliance to Legislation?

The Health and Safety at Work Act makes it the responsibility of employers to provide a safe and healthy working environment for their employees and to members of the public. There are also individual British and International product standards such as BS6396:2008+A1:2015 concerning electrical systems used in offices and educational furniture. Designed to create a safe environment by defining functionality and using appropriate materials. Additionally, there is the Portable Appliance Testing (PAT), which is set by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER). Whereby it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all appliances are maintained in an efficient working order.

Competency

If there are no electrically qualified people to undertake a risk assessment then someone should be appointed to undertake it and any necessary work. Ignorance is never a defence in the event of any legal claim.

Power Leads & Cords

All power leads should be checked for wear and tear. They should not be tangled, damaged by the legs of furniture, hidden under carpets or allowed to lie across walkways and present trip hazards. Any damaged flexes or cords should be replaced.

Total Loading on Socket Extensions

The standard plastic trailing socket is not designed for 24/7 use and does not comply with BS6396 for use in office or educational furniture. An injury or property claim as a result of the failure of this type of product in these environments potentially leaves companies vulnerable.

A common problem is overloading of power strips. Attention should be made to the total load required and a PDU provided to meet this requirement. Overload protection in the form of fuses, miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) or residual current breaker with overload (RCBO) can all be incorporated to provide various levels of protection to equipment and persons.

Use of PDUs & Appliances

PDU Online units are manufactured from resilient materials but power distribution units should wherever possible still be secured into a fixed position either within office furniture or on solid surfaces. Consideration must be made if secured within portable furniture to ensure safe and easy disconnection can be made. PDUs are available that interconnect with various lengths of interconnecting leads which is particularly useful now where furniture may need to be separated but connectivity maintained.

All appliances that are not in use should be unplugged ideally to avoid any unnecessary use or loading.

Conclusion

If returning to the office and work environment following the recent pandemic has meant changes to localised electrical power distribution then this presents an opportunity to ensure that such equipment and associated appliances all comply with the latest regulations. Even if such changes may be only of a temporary nature it would be a mistake to ignore these requirements for that reason. As they have been developed over time out of the experience of accidents and fires from often those very situations.

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