Faulty electrical wiring is dangerous because accidents can happen to anyone at home or in the workplace. In fact, over a thousand people each year are known to suffer from shocks or burns caused by electricity, either by operating faulty appliances or touching exposed wires. Furthermore, the majority of fires in workplaces are also related to electrical problems.
Minimizing, or altogether preventing, electrical risks in your workplace should place high on your priority list. Here’s a quick rundown on the various phases of electrical risk management.
- Identifying hazards
Have an inspector check for possible sources of electrical hazards. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DO THIS ON YOUR OWN – electrical problems can be very difficult to assess, requiring proper training and equipment. Hire a professional electrician to take a look at your entire workplace.
Common “hotspots” include electrical outlets, wires running underneath furniture or common pathways, and old or frequently-used appliances. In some cases, wires or appliances may be in good condition but are placed in a way that increases the risk of accidents happening.
- Assessing the Risks
Once the hotspots have all been identified, it’s time to figure out the likelihood of each hotspot causing an electrical accident. The rule of thumb is that the more often people get near to a hotspot, the bigger the risk. Another factor would be the condition of the wires, outlets, or appliances; the older they are, the bigger the risks are likely to be.
Make a list of all hotspots and rank them according to their risk level. Once again, you may have to consult a professional for appropriate assessment, but properly ranking each risk makes the next step of the process a lot easier.
- Taking Action
Start addressing all identified hotspots starting from the biggest risks. The longer a huge electrical risk is neglected, the more likely someone can get hurt. Some solutions could be as simple as replacing an old fuse, while others involve rerouting the wiring on the wall or buying new appliances.
Revamping your workplace can cost a lot, but you have to remember that the consequences of poor electrical risk management can be a lot worse. You might also have to do the required work during weekends or after office hours to further minimize risks and avoid disruptions during work hours.
- Reviewing the Results
To ensure good results, have a professional test all the precautions made. Freshly-installed wiring or outlets should be tested for signs of grounding or damage right after installation. Relocated electrical components should be double-checked to ensure that they’re placed completely out of the way.
You should consider the long-term results of the precautions you’ve taken. This means having follow-up inspections, which may also involve the use of specialized testing equipment. Depending on the risk level, some hotspots may have to be inspected more frequently than others.
Enforcing a few house rules and encouraging the safe use of electrical appliances can also help lower the probability of accidents from happening. Even making a habit of unplugging unused appliances and keeping food away from equipment can prevent risks such as overheating or short circuits. While electrical risks cannot be completely eliminated, making sure they stay at a minimum is one of the requirements of a safe working environment.