Electrical fires are a leading cause of workplace fires and injuries. According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical problems were the leading cause of workplace fires from 2009 to 2013, accounting for 18% of all workplace fires. In addition, electrical fires accounted for 21% of workplace fire injuries during that period. While some electrical fires are caused by faulty equipment or wiring, others result from human error. To help prevent electrical fires in your workplace, follow these simple tips.
In any office, there are a variety of devices that need to be plugged in and charged daily. From computers to printers to coffee makers, it’s easy for outlets to become overloaded. Overloaded outlets are one of the leading causes of office fires. When too many devices are plugged in, the circuit becomes overloaded, and the risk of fire dramatically increases. When plugging in multiple devices, spread them out among different outlets to reduce fire risk. Experts also recommend using a power strip with an overcurrent protection device such as those available at Bay Power.
To avoid an electric fire in your office, make sure to unplug or turn off all appliances when they are not in use. This includes coffee makers, computers, printers, and copy machines. If an appliance is not being used for an extended period, it is best to unplug it from the wall outlet. In addition, be sure to avoid overloading outlets by plugging in too many devices. If you notice that an outlet is hot to the touch, do not use it and have an electrician check it as soon as possible.
To create a safe workplace, it is vital to educate your employees about the dangers of electrical fires and how to prevent them. Employees should be aware of the signs of an electrical fire, such as sparking, smoke, or a burning smell. In addition, employees should know how to use and maintain electrical equipment properly. Finally, employees should be familiar with the location of fire extinguishers and other fire fighting equipment and how to use them.
While extension cords can be a handy temporary solution, they should never be used as a permanent fix. They can increase the risk of an electrical fire by adding additional strain to the circuit. If you need to use an extension cord, choose one rated for the proper amperage and keep it in good condition.
One way to help prevent electrical fires is to keep flammable materials like paper, fabric, and curtains away from any heat sources. It also includes heaters, radiators, and other appliances that generate heat. This can help minimize the risk of an accidental fire, and it can also help prevent the spread of fire if one does occur. Additionally, have a fire prevention plan and ensure office workers know the risks of using electrical equipment in damp conditions. Water can increase the conductivity of electricity, making it more likely for a fire to start.
Consider installing smoke detectors throughout the workplace to detect any potential fire immediately. Fire extinguishers should also be readily available so that employees can quickly put out any small fires before they have a chance to spread. It is also essential to have a clear evacuation plan in place so that everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire.
Regularly inspecting electrical equipment for damage or wear and tear is one of the best ways to avoid an electrical fire. Look for frayed wires, loose connections, and damaged insulation. If you see any damage, have the equipment repaired or replaced immediately. In addition, be sure to keep cords and cables tidy, and that circuit breaker are updated. It is also advisable to have a qualified electrician conduct the inspection instead of doing it yourself.
A fire in the workplace can be devastating. Not only do employees face potential injury, but businesses also lose money due to downtime and damage. Electrical fires are especially dangerous because they can quickly spread to other parts of the building. To prevent electrical fires in your workplace, you need to understand the causes and take steps to mitigate them. Make sure you know the fire safety plan for your building and follow the guidelines to keep you and your co-workers safe. If an electrical fire breaks, know how to respond.