GNcareers, from Gulf News

Preventing electrical hazards in the office

Possible hazards in the officesImage Credit: Supplied

With a high number of electrical equipment available, an office is not spared from serious electrical hazards that include fires, shocks and burns. It is, thus, wise to maintain safety precautions to prevent accidents.

One common hazard is damaged power cord, which can be from any number of electrical appliances like computers, monitors, printers and even kettles. Over time and with frequent use, a cable’s casing can become worn and result in the internal wiring becoming exposed, which may lead to electric shock and sparks that can ignite flammable materials such as paper. To reduce the risk of shock or fire from damaged cables, wirings should be inspected on a regular basis and replaced if worn.

Extension leads are another hazard. These are often seen and overused in crowded offices without enough outlets to accommodate all appliances. The improper use of extension leads also runs a big risk of electric shock and fire as overloading them can cause them to overheat. If there is a need to use extension leads, evenly distribute and keep to a minimum the number of appliances plugged into them. Extension cords, like all electrical equipment, should be purchased from a reputable provider with the necessary quality and safety guarantee.

There are also potential risks involved with computers and laptops, especially those left running constantly. While most are quite safe, there can sometimes be problems caused by overheating. This can happen when internal cooling mechanisms fail, or the equipment is left on or near flammable objects. For instance, a laptop left running on compactly arranged desks without adequate space allowed for it to cool can overheat and increase the risk of fire.

Therefore, offices must encourage employees to turn off their equipment when they finish work to reduce incidents occurring when people are not around to notice and raise the alarm. Loss of equipment, property and vital information could result even though your staff is safe.

Handy Hints
• Evenly distribute appliances plugged into extension leads
Regularly inspect all electrical equipment for faults, damages
• Only use electrical products with quality and safety guarantee

Source: Nicholas Bakers, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer