Electrical Safety Tips for the Office

Every office employee desires a safe, healthy work environment. They want to come to work confident about their well-being, and inspired to hit the day’s target. At the end of the day, these workers want to come home whole, healthy and happy. We can say this is what their employer wants as well, and the employer ensures the happiness and safety of their workers.

Sadly, around 70,000 office workers all over the United States experience disabling injuries at the office. A good chunk of this staggering number is due to electrical accidents after they come in contact with electrical equipment or appliances. Some of the injuries happen as a result of faulty wiring, unsafe installations and high volumes of electrical connections. Many instances, burns or shocks take place because of faulty use of equipment or use of defective equipment at work.

How does shock and burn injuries happen? Well, electricity travels through conductors that, in the office setting, come in wires. But electricity can also travel through the human body. Moist skin has less resistance to electrical current flow, and thus, conducts electricity. In fact, it’s not just metals that are going to get you burned or experience electrical shock. Your body actually could hasten the current flow and intensify it, resulting in shock, burns, and great pain as a result of damaged nerves and tissues. The passage of electricity through the body could even result to death, so it is very important to know how to stay safe from electrical accidents.

Since about everything in the office setting operates on electricity, knowing the dangers and how to avoid them is vital to all employees. It is noteworthy as well for office managers and business owners to implement all safety measures when it comes to electrical hazards so that their workforce can work confidently and efficiently. As for employees, it is also a responsibility to make sure you’re safe and free from electrical exposures.

Here are the top electrical safety tips for the office to take note of:

1) Avoid overloading electrical outlets

This is a very, very common mistake that often leads to accidents. When electrical circuits get overloaded, this could result in a fire that leads to damaged office supplies and equipment, and injuries among the employees. Employers should always check ahead of time that the office has sufficient electrical outlets. Periodically check the changing needs for power sources, especially if there is new equipment and appliances required at work. If there are floor-mounted outlets, ensure that they are placed carefully so the employees won’t trip and fall.

2) Electrical cords should be in the best condition and locations

Defective cords are often the source of electric shock and burns. This could further lead to damage in equipment as well, and lead to a bad period of less work, employees in the hospital, loss of documents and unmet targets. To avoid all these problems, make sure that all the cords outer layers are in good condition so they remain water-resistant and well insulated. Remember that exposed wires can cause shock and short circuits, so always get them examined. When frayed and defective cords are spotted, immediately get them replaced. On the other hand, where the cords are located says a lot about safety or danger as well. Cords should be located far from radiators and steam pipes, or under furniture, office carpets or rugs. Walls and windows are also unsafe places for cords to be attached to. When getting the cords in place, mind the installation because it could fray, cut or damage the outer jacket. Cords should not be hooked or nailed, and should not be pulled, otherwise they get scratched.

3) Be mindful of extension cords

There are instances where insufficient connections would mean getting extension cords to use. Sometimes, fixed wiring would not be enough for the growing list of office equipment, or distance from the outlets would make a task infeasible. While understandable, it is very important that the extension cords are placed and connected properly. Keep the cord taped down on the floor with the right adhesive. This would help eliminate electrical dangers as well as incidents of employees tripping over the cord.

4) Keep equipment grounded

The often-overlooked method of grounding actually protects humans from electric shock. The ground creates a low-resistance path to earth to prevent hazardous voltages from building up to really dangerous levels. Equipment such as machines requiring electrical current must be grounded, particularly if they are placed in hazardous settings. It is also a requirement for common office equipment like refrigerators and air conditioners.

5) Practice safe and sure “turn off” policies

Pulling plugs to shut down equipment or stop power is often disregarded. This poses a number of electrical hazards and should be prohibited in the office. On-and-off switches should be present on all equipment so that employees don’t just pull the plug to shut off power. Make sure the whole workforce also practices safe removal of plugs from outlets. Pulling the wire instead of the plug itself is very dangerous as it could scratch the wire and pose electrical exposure hazards.

6) Don’t use unsafe equipment

Always look at the seal of approval from accredited testing facilities when you buy electrical appliances for the office. With so many substandard office appliances and equipment these days, it’s better to be informed before you make the purchase. Otherwise, you could pose harm to the office when you provide poor quality lamps, microwave ovens, coffee makers and water dispensers. Whenever equipment malfunctions, don’t push it and just immediately disconnect it from the outlet.

7) Do periodic cleaning safely

The best way to start maintenance, repair and clean any electrical equipment is to disconnect it from the power source. Remember that there are appropriate tools to carry out cleaning, fixing and repair of equipment and appliances. Avoid causing damage by using the wrong tools. Apart from cleaning the large part of the appliance or equipment, it’s also time to check if the cords are working well, unscratched and un-frayed. Then when it’s time to get it running again, make sure all the parts are properly back in place before turning it back on. On a side note, it would be a surefire safety move to wear the right gloves and shoes when doing the cleaning and maintenance of electrical equipment.

As electricity is essential to office operations, it is, indeed, important that the office workforce knows its dangers as well. Many electrical accidents and injuries in the office occur because of lack of knowledge, poor management and little attention to proper maintenance of electrical structures and flow in the workplace. But by simply following the explained tips for electrical safety in the office, such dangers and tragedies can be avoided.