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Safety Tips | Office safety

Avoid electrical hazards in the office

October 1, 2011

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The high volume of electrical equipment in a typical office can expose workers to serious electrical hazards, including shocks, burns and fire, the Rosslyn, VA-based Electrical Safety Foundation International warns.

“Electrical accidents that occur in an office environment are usually a result of faulty or defective equipment, unsafe installation, or misuse of equipment – specifically, extension cords, power strips and surge protectors,” ESFI President Brett Brenner said.

To protect against electrical incidents, ESFI recommends:

  • Even when using a surge protector, make sure the electrical load is not too much for the circuit.
  • Avoid overloading outlets with too many appliances. Never plug in more than one high-wattage appliance at a time.
  • Unplug appliances when not in use to save energy and minimize the risk of shock and fire.
  • Inspect electrical cords once a month to ensure they are not frayed, cracked or otherwise damaged.
  • Do not run electrical cords through high-traffic areas, under carpets or across doorways.
  • Consider having a licensed electrician install additional outlets where needed, rather than relying on extension cords and power strips.
  • Ensure all electrical equipment is certified by a nationally recognized laboratory, and read all manufacturers’ instructions carefully.

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