It’s Electrical Fire Safety Week and we’re bringing you advice and guidance on how to prevent electrical fires in the workplace.
Under the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) you need to provide a safe working environment. This is created by keeping electrical systems safe for continued use. That means you need to be aware of the risks that electrical equipment can pose.
- Don’t overload your plug sockets
An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take so, to help reduce the risk of fire, be careful not to overload them.
- Regularly check for frayed or worn cables and wires
Check to see if the cable is fastened securely to the plug and check the socket for scorch marks. You should always carry out these checks before you plug an appliance in.
- Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order
Look out for fuses that blow, circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reason and flickering lights to prevent them triggering a fire.
- Check for British or European safety mark
Make sure an appliance has a British or European safety mark when you buy it.
- Carry out a fire risk assessment
While self-assessment is permitted, this can only be completed by the responsible person within the business who is able to identify fire risks and knows how to remove, reduce or mitigate them. This is why for large and complex buildings, it is more suitable to employ a qualified assessor to keep your premises safe.
- Conduct an Electrical Wiring Inspection
Especially if your business is located in an older building, it’s important to have a professional inspect your wiring for possible corrosion or outdated wiring. If any wire is exposed or corroded, it should be replaced immediately. Wire coating that is rotting away will only get worse with time, and your potential for fire damage will increase and put people and your business at risk.
- Train your staff on electrical safety
Most electrical fires are caused by employees’ ignorance or negligence therefore providing comprehensive safety training to your employees is a great idea. Additionally, trained employees can make better decisions that can save lives in case of a fire.
- Unplug heat-producing appliances
Heat-producing devices are susceptible to fires when plugged into the electrical system for a long time. Additionally, the process can overwork the system leading to overheating and sparking that may cause a fire. It is recommended to have such devices unplugged when not in use.
- Have your appliances PAT tested
PAT testing means Portable Appliance Testing. It is the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure that they are safe to use. This involves a visual inspection of the equipment, cables and plugs to ensure that they are in good condition, verification of grounding continuity and testing the soundness of insulation between current carrying parts. All of this combines to make the devices used within a business safe to use.
- Store flammable materials safely
The storage, distribution and use of flammable liquids and chemicals in the workplace carries significant risks, which is why every flammable substance comes with precise documentation of associated hazards and detailed guidelines for safety.
Highly flammable chemicals should be stored, transported and used in a safe manner which reduces the risk of fire and reduces the likelihood of them adding fuel to any fire on site.
For more information on fire safety within the workplace, contact our safety team for advice or guidance, we’re here to help.