When you think about workplace safety for the average business, the possibility of incidents like slips and falls are probably at the top of your list. But many companies have multiple components, including offices, storefronts, warehouses, manufacturing plants, and so on. In some cases these facilities harbor a host of dangers to the health and wellness of employees. And so you must practice proper procedure in order to ensure the safety of your workers. But unless your business centers on the electrical trade, you might not be unduly concerned about electrical hazards. However, even the average corporate office can suffer an electrical fire if an outlet is overloaded. And the biggest risk is to be unaware of potential problem areas where electrical safety is concerned. So here are just a few tips to ensure that your workplace and your employees are protected in the event of electrical issues.
- Meet OSHA requirements. Whether electrical hazards are part and parcel of the business you run or your office is relatively free of potential harm from electrical elements, it’s important to understand the requirements that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has in place regarding precautions to prevent accident and injury related to electrical usage. Generally speaking, so long as your structure is up to code and you’re aware of the maximum load for your electrical system, you won’t have any problems. But if you happen to run a business where working with high voltage is normal, you’ll probably have to offer employee training and have safety procedures and protections in place to ensure that the risk of accidents is as low as possible.
- Lock fuse boxes. The only person that should have access to the fuse box at your facility is the facilities manager and related staff, and anyone with access should be properly trained to address minor issues, such as blown breakers and the like. This area should be restricted by a locked box at the very least, although a cage with appropriate warning signs posted is even better.
- Limit outlet usage. Overloaded outlets are a major risk factor for electrical fire. If you’re lucky, all that will happen when you overload an outlet is that a breaker will blow. Otherwise there’s a good chance that a fire could result from this oversight. Ask your facilities manager to check outlets frequently to make sure employees aren’t plugging in too many devices. And if you need more juice to carry out day-to-day operations, call a qualified contractor to install them and bring in a city inspector to make sure the project is up to code.
- Ban dangerous items. It doesn’t take much to fry electronics, so you might want to instruct employees to eat in designated areas (like the cafeteria) rather than at their desks, or at least to use spill-proof containers for liquids. And you shouldn’t allow items like space heaters that could be fire hazards.
- Always call professionals. It’s probably a good idea to conduct annual inspections of all major systems at your office, including electrical, and calling a professional electrician or a company like Southern Electrical Services is probably your best bet. However, you may also want to call in the pros any time you significantly add to your energy draw (say, if you install a server farm for data backup) or you start to notice problems like breakers blowing, lights flickering, power surges, and so on. It’s never smart to tinker with the electrical system yourself, especially when the lives of your employees could hang in the balance.