Top 10 Tips for Electrical Fire Safety
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Poorly maintained equipment causes fires!
This article looks at the Top 10 Tips for Electrical Safety. By following a few simple guidelines and using a little common sense you can avoid getting injured or causing a fire. Fire Risk Consultancy Services have provided some key tips to help keep you safe and ensure your equipment is safe to use.
Turn off all electrical appliances at the end of the day
It goes without saying that electrical appliances can easily overheat or malfunction, and become a huge fire hazard in the workplace. So, at the end of each day, ensure that all appliances are turned off and help prevent a disastrous situation happening overnight.
Don’t overload circuits
Overloading electrical circuits with more than the recommended capacity can cause the fuse to blow, overheat and become a huge fire hazard. Avoid overloading plug sockets, multi-plug adaptors or extension leads.
Check cords & extensions
Cords with exposed wiring should not be used. Extension cords in use should be rated for the current level of the equipment being utilised. You should regularly check your cords for cuts or breaks and keep them slack to avoid putting pressure on the wiring connection. Ensure that all cords are away from damp, heat, oil and sharp edges.
Regular checks and maintenance on electrical equipment
Regularly checking equipment to make sure it’s safe to use is a major component of health and safety. This includes more frequent checks on electricals that are more likely to become damaged, such as portable heaters, tools, etc or items that are often moved. By looking for signs of damage or faults to items, the level of risk they pose can be controlled.
Visual checks are not usually necessary for small, battery-powered items, or for equipment that works from a mains-powered adaptor (laptops or cordless phones, etc). However, the mains-powered adaptor for such equipment should be visually checked.
If potential hazards are discovered during these checks – a plug or connector is damaged, internal wires are visible, or there are signs of overheating, like burn marks or stains – it should be removed from use immediately in order to repair or replace it.
Installing and repairing electrical items
Ensure that people who are working with electricity are competent to do the job. Even simple tasks such as wiring a plug can lead to danger – ensure that people know what they are doing before they start.
Keep easy access to electrical control panels
If there is an emergency and you need to shut down a particular machine, the last thing you want to be doing is moving obstacles or equipment out of the way before you can even get to the control panel. Always be sure that nothing is stored directly in front of electrical control panels, to allow easy access to shut the system down in case of an emergency and preferably have them visibly marked to enable swift identification at a moment’s notice.
Report any electrical faults
Electrical faults are one of the main causes of workplace fires, so it’s important that everyone in the premises keeps a lookout for any potential electrical faults, and immediately draws attention to them. Have all your electrical equipment checked regularly and have a reporting procedure in place for employees to use.
Stay on top of machine maintenance
Ensure that machines are always properly and regularly checked and maintained, to avoid overheating and friction sparks.
Fixed Wiring Inspections
Make arrangements for inspecting and testing fixed wiring installations, i.e. the circuits from the meter and consumer unit supplying light switches, sockets, wired-in equipment (eg cookers, hairdryers), etc, to be carried out regularly so there is little chance of deterioration leading to danger. This work should normally be carried out by a competent person, usually an electrician.
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
Consider whether electrical equipment, including portable appliances, should be more formally inspected or tested by a competent person. Also, think about the intervals at which this should be done.
More information can be found here on the Government HSE website.
Please note that this article provides basic easy-to-understand guidance of fire safety provisions and the key fire safety information required to comply with legislation. Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. We aim to assist you to understand the fire-related terms within your Fire Risk Assessment. It does not provide detailed technical guidance on all fire safety provisions, and you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.
Fire Risk Consultancy Services have the knowledge and experience to assist your business to comply with all legal requirements surrounding fire safety including legislation. Be sure to read our accompanying guides: Fire Alarm System Types, Fire Extinguishers, Emergency Lighting, Fire Doors, Fire Safety Signs, also published on this site.
Please take a moment to have a look around our website where you will find related articles and guides to all the services we can provide your business with, from providing Fire Risk Assessments, fire safety training, full advisory service to Articles on Fire Safety Provisions and our Top Fire Safety Tips!