There are many things to think about when running an office building. From making sure the space is comfortable and inviting for employees to keeping the business efficient and organized, it can seem like a lot on your plate. But one of the most important aspects of ensuring your office runs smoothly is safety. And that's not just limited to fire safety - electrical safety is as crucial.
Office buildings pose several electrical hazards that can seriously injure or even kill people if they're not careful. That's why it's important for all building occupants to be aware of these dangers and know how to stay safe around electricity. A commercial electrician can provide specific advice and tips for staying safe, here are some tips and tricks to help keep your office safe from potential electrical hazards.
Start an Electric Safety Program
A written safety program is the first step in protecting your business dreams. Verify that your program is compliant with the National Electric Code (NEC) and OSHA safety standards.
Ensure employees know how to work safely around electricity and recognize potential hazards. Make sure they're well versed in the proper safety procedures- such as shutting off power before performing any repairs or maintenance and never working with live circuits. Your program must be continually reinforced throughout the year with training and meetings. This helps ensure that your workers stay up-to-date on the latest safety practices and remain aware of possible hazards.
These are some topics that your program should cover in terms of electrical safety:
- How to recognize electrical hazards and how to avoid them.
- Here are guidelines for what distance is safe from exposed conductors.
- Information on personal protective equipment for electrical safety.
- OSHA's electrical safety guidelines for working in damp locations that contain electricity.
- Proper lockout/Tagout procedures for electrical equipment.
- For electrical installations, there are safety codes
- What OSHA's electrical rules mean for your workplace
- OSHA sanctions for non-compliance with the electrical code.
How To Manage An Electrical Safety Standards Program
It is important to raise awareness about electrical hazards to promote an effective electrical safety program. Employees can be kept informed by additional training or prominently displaying safety posters.
Your staff should be able to identify common warning signs that could indicate unexpected electrical hazards and fires. Here are some ways you can help protect your workplace from electrical hazards:
- Be aware of the warning signs of potential electrical issues. Common danger signs include smoke, sparks, loud noises, or an out-of-place smell.
- Always try to cut off the power before working on any equipment. This is especially important when installing new equipment operating near existing wiring.
- Think about how your office layout will impact your electrical safety plan.
- Make sure you have an effective way of marking and identifying all outlets, switches, and breakers to avoid someone accidentally flipping the wrong switch or plugging in the wrong device.
Keep Track Of All Tripped Breakers.
Electrical problems can be symptomatic of a frequently blown a fuse or tripped circuits. Overloaded outlets or circuits usually cause these. Consult a licensed electrician to fully evaluate your building's electrical needs if you need assistance. A quick spreadsheet can be created that records each event, including details about the failure of the circuit and the equipment used. Then you can create a plan to prevent it from happening again.
Check For Potential Low-voltage Discharge areas.
Even a slight shock can signal a serious problem. Make sure you unplug the appliance and stop using it. Then, have a licensed electrician inspect the circuit and make necessary repairs.
Check For Heat On Cords & Plugs.
If you notice that an electrical cord is hot to the touch, unplug it immediately. A hotplug or wire can be a sign of damaged or malfunctioning equipment. It's also worth noting that if the insulation on the cord has cracked or chipped away, it needs to be replaced.
Check For Frayed Cords.
Frays may indicate increased friction in the plug where it meets the cord. This is usually caused by repetitive bending or stress on the wire that causes it to wear away. If you spot a frayed cord, replace it immediately and do not use the appliance until you have had a licensed electrician inspect it.
Inspect For Exposed Wiring
Ensure all your appliances are properly wired and that the cord is not worn or damaged. A frayed or nicked cord can signify that the breaker has been tripped frequently, which poses a risk of electrical shock if you use the appliance. The breaker should always trip before any damage to the cord or appliance.
For any electrical work that needs to be done, you should hire a licensed electrician with plenty of experience as a Commercial Electrician in Queens. If you need assistance finding one, your local building department will be able to get in touch with your city's licensing agency. When an electrical problem is found, make sure the Commercial Electrician in Queens making repairs is licensed to work on your type of building.
Examine Electrical Switches & Receptacles
Wall outlets that are discolored or worn can indicate hidden arcing, burning, or smoking. These can indicate damaged or incorrectly installed wiring and a problem in the receptacle. Do not use the outlet or switch. Contact a licensed electrician immediately. All outlets and switches should have faceplates securely fastened to the wall. If one is loose or missing, it should be replaced or fixed as soon as possible to avoid anything being plugged into it and becoming a hazard.
Be Aware Of Fluctuations In Electrical Loads.
Flickering or dimming lights could indicate a short in the wiring, dangerous arcing, overextension, or a short in your electrical system. To discuss the issue and request an electrical system inspection, contact a qualified electrician.
A Commercial Electrician should only ever perform electrical inspections and repairs in Queens. If you suspect that your electrical appliances or equipment are malfunctioning, contact an electrician as soon as possible to avoid putting yourself at risk for shock or fire.
How To Reduce Electrical Risks At Work Place
You can take steps to reduce the risk of electric fires and other hazards at work by improving electrical safety. Owners and employees can reduce risks together by being trained on properly using electrical and mechanical equipment.
Remember that only licensed and bonded professionals can service or repair electrical equipment. Here are some ways you can protect your company
OSHA Lockout Protocols For Workers To Be Taught To Employees
Follow the appropriate lockout, tagout, and grounding procedures for your workplace.
- Before cleaning, adjusting, or repairing tools or equipment, unplug them
- To prevent someone or a timeclock from starting equipment under repair, lock the power switch in "off" and pull fuses or breaks.
- Before unlocking or re-fusing the power switch, replace guards on augers, belts, and chains.
Be Careful When Moving Equipment.
Be careful when moving older televisions or computer or video monitors. These areas contain the most dangerous electrical hazards: the non-isolated power supply and the CRT high voltage.
Nearly all CRT-based TVs and similarly designed computer monitors have major parts directly connected to AC lines. There is no safety transformer. In some TVs, the whole chassis can be live at nearly full voltage, even with the power switch in the off position. More recent TVs and computer monitors contain a moderating diode to keep the voltage at approximately one-half of its normal value.
Take Care To Inspect Equipment Cords & Plugs For Any Damage.
Regular inspection and maintenance of power cables and plugs are important. You can reduce fire hazards by setting up a maintenance program to inspect, repair, or dispose of cables and chords on an intermittent basis.
- Verify that Underwriters Laboratories approve all appliances, tools, and lighting.
- Unplug appliances and equipment, or toggle a power strip to the off position when not in use.
- Inspect them often to ensure that cords and plugs aren't cracked or frayed. Keep cords away from high-traffic areas.
- Never force a plug into an outlet.
- Verify that all outlets have been properly grounded
- Extension cords are only to be used temporarily
- Extension cords should not be stapled or nailed to walls or baseboards.
- Please limit the number of devices plugged into an extension cable to prevent overloading it.
Keep In Mind OSHA's Outlet Requirements & Codes Close To Water Sources.
Ground fault circuit interrupters are used in areas where electricity and water can directly contact. Protect outdoor outlets with waterproof safety covers for electrical outlets and GFCI protection.
Avoid Static Discharge By Grounding.
An anti-static wrist strap and grounded work surface are useful tools for handling static-sensitive components. They can reduce the risk of damaging circuitry and prevent accidental arching.
Replace Bulbs & Fuse With Similar Types
When replacing lightbulbs, verify the recommended wattage of the appliance before you replace them. It would help if you only replaced fuses or breakers with similarly-rated products. Never adjust amperage on breakers. Ensure you read the manufacturer's instructions carefully before servicing electrical appliances, equipment, or wiring in your workplace.
Circuit Boards Should Be Used With Care.
Put insulating material between circuit boards that need to be taken from their mountings if you do not know what is on them. Do not drop, shake or bump circuit boards plugged into electrical outlets.
Install ground-fault circuit interrupters for temporary wiring of construction sites
When the job is completed, temporary power sources for outdoor work should be grounded and bonded to the main services. It should be disconnected from all sources of electrical service.
The safety of your employees should always be a top priority for any office building owner. However, with all the new technology on the market today, it can often be difficult to know what steps are needed to create an environment that is safe and free from hazards. That's where we come in! Our team at Daven Electric Corp., has years of combined experience working with some of New York City's largest commercial buildings. With our expertise and knowledge about how electrical systems work, you'll never have to worry about safety again when hiring us for service work or installing new equipment like emergency lighting fixtures or exit signs. Contact us today at 212-390-1106 for more information about how we can help make your property safer than ever before.