Not an electrician? You still need to be aware of electrical hazards and take practical measures to avoid them. Here are a couple of issues that require particular attention:
- Overloaded electrical circuits pose both an electrocution and fire hazard. While we can’t always control the number of outlets in our offices, the Electrical Safety Foundation International recommends some steps to stay safe from electrical hazards:
- If you must use a power strip, use a name-brand product from a reputable retailer. Low-quality or counterfeit power strips may contain wiring that isn’t adequate to carry the load.
- Place power strips where there is plenty of air circulation to disperse heat.
- Do not attempt to plug grounded (three-prong) cords into ungrounded (two-slot) outlets.
- Do not bind, kink or knot electrical cords.
- Never run power cords under rugs or where chairs can roll over them.
- Keep cords close to a wall to avoid trip hazards.
- Keep all non-critical electrical items unplugged until you need to use them.
- Consider charging battery-operated devices in another area.
- If your computer screen flickers or fades, or you detect a burning smell, power down and immediately contact the building engineer. If you work from home, have a licensed electrician conduct an electrical inspection.
For more electrical safety information, go to www.electrical-safety.org.