Electrical fires are the most common cause of fires in commercial premises. This maybe overlooked as a possible fire hazard as there is no flame. Make sure electrical safety is covered in your Fire Risk Assessment
covering the need for visual checks, PAT testing, as well as a 5 year fixed wire report carried out by a competent person. If the premises is rented then look through your contract to see who's responsibility the fixed wire report falls too.
On visits we often come across extension leads. Be careful and take time to consider what is being plugged into these. Never overload extensions leads or daisy chain (where you have an extension lead running of another extension lead) We would recommend using the 'gang' type lead and avoid block adaptors. The plug and the cable should be regularly checked for wear and tear. Worn extension leads should be replaced. If 'drum reel' leads are being used, these need to be fully unwound. If this is not done it can cause the lead to overheat.
Electrical safety tips
- Visual checks - Implement a process to ensure electrical equipment is in good working order. Whether this be replacing heavily used items after a certain timescale, carrying out visual checks on appliances including the wire, plug and sockets for damage or wear and tear.
- PAT testing (Portable Appliance Testing) - When PAT testing is in place these needs to be carried out by a competent person annually.
- Turning off appliances - At the close of business ensure all electrical appliances are turned off (Which can be). Never leave appliances charging when no one is on site.
- Isolation switches - Ensure isolation switches are in place where needed and that staff are aware of where these are located.
- Staff training - Incorporate electrical safety in your staff training, make sure they are aware of how to use electrical equipment safely.
- Housekeeping - Make sure appliances are kept clean, especially those which may accumulate dust from the work environment (e.g. In a joinery workshop)
- Positioning of portable heaters - Portable heaters along with fans need to be used in a single socket. They should not be used on an extension lead with other appliances. Make sure there are no combustibles near the heater such as paper.
- British and EU standards - When purchasing appliances, check they carry the relevant safety marks e.g. CE mark. Remember when purchasing something which seems to good to be trues, it usually is.
Last updated: Thursday 17 June 2021