Electrical safety should be treated as a priority in all work station. It is a powerful force which can seriously injured and in the worst cases, can be incurable.
Risks and hazards
Different levels of risk that should be assessed at different areas accordingly.
Electrical faults which could cause fires or explosions so it is important to note that a person does not need to be directly working with electricity in order to be in contact with electrical risk
With this it is important that all electrical appliances are checked for faults regularly.
Things to keep in mind when purchasing or using electrical appliances include:
- Electrical appliances should always be used how they were designed to be used only
- Ensure portable equipment has built-in safety switches
Never take a fixed cover off an electrical appliance while it is connected to electricity
- When buying in electrical equipment from Australia or overseas, approved markings (CE, UL etc.) mean the items are okay to use in ‘safe’ or ‘low risk’ environments like office and retail space as long as they are subject to a visual check beforehand. When they are used in an ‘unsafe’ environment or ‘high risk’ environment like a building site or factory floor, they must go through testing as well as visual checks.
- Any item to be used in a high risk environment should be tested and labelled as safe in accordance with AS/NZS 3760 before it is used
- Any faulty or damaged electrical equipment should be switched off and unplugged (if safe to do so). Report the problem and clearly mark the item as unsafe so colleagues do not attempt to use it.
- Do not use any appliances that have been exposed to water or liquid. Turn off a wet appliance and unplug it (if safe to do so), report the issue and label it clearly as unsafe.
Extension Leads and Power Boards
Following are the main steps which help to manage all risks associated with power boards and extension leads:
- PowerPoints should never be overcrowded and where possible multi-plugs should be avoided
- Ensure that any appliance is unplugged rather than pulled out of the plug by the cord
- When plugging in and unplugging appliances, make sure the plug switch is off
- Plugs should be fully inserted into the outlet and should be tested in full regularly
- All outlets should have safety switches and be adequately labelled.
- All power boards should have overload protection and integrated on/off switches
- Power boards should be kept well ventilated, clean and above floor level where possible
- Extension leads should not be a permanent solution for power distribution and should always be laid safely in order to prevent them becoming a trip hazard
- Extension leads used should be high-quality and heavy-duty, particularly when used outdoors
- Cords should be in good condition and checked for faults before use.
Heating some things to keep in mind in regards to lighting and heating include:
- Halogen lamps are high risk and should be replaced where possible with safer alternatives
- If a fluorescent light is used and is enclosed, it must be ventilated to stop it overheating
- Any exposed wires from lighting should be placed as safely as possible
- If damaged lighting wires are discovered, the lights should be switched off and a qualified electrician should be called in to fix the problem
- Offices should never be left unattended when heating appliances are on