The indoor workplace
It's important to ensure safety is always a priority for both employers and employees inside the workplace.
A safety switch protects you and your employees against the most frequent cause of electrocution - a shock from electricity passing through the body to the earth.
How do they work?
If a fault occurs in an appliance or wiring, causing current to flow to earth, a safety switch's earth leakage sensor responds to the imbalance and cuts the power. This happens in less than a heartbeat, potentially preventing electrocution.
Do you have one?
Your workplace should have a safety switch. You can check on your switchboard by looking for a 'test' or 'reset' button.
Is it working?
If you have a safety switch installed, it should be tested every three months. Simply press the 'test' button once and the switch should automatically trip - that means it's working. Then you must reset the switch by turning it back 'on'. And remember, if you're unsure, seek advice from a licensed electrical contractor.
Testing the safety switch will cut your power supply so be aware that you'll need to reset your electrical clocks, etc.
Appliances and electrical fittings
- Switch off the power before pulling out a plug and hold the plug, not the cord. Always switch off appliances before cleaning them.
- If extra power points are needed, make sure they're installed by a licensed electrical contractor or use a powerboard. Note that using double adaptors is not permitted in some workplaces. The Electrical Safety Regulation 2002 sets out specific requirements about electrical equipment and installations at a workplace.
- Always check for electrical cables before drilling into walls, floors and ceilings. Be particularly careful when drilling around power points and light switches. Contacting a concealed electrical cable with a metal drill bit can be extremely dangerous.
- Keep leads and electrical cables tidy and out of the way.
- Install safety switches. If a fault occurs in an appliance or wiring, causing current to flow to earth, a safety switch's earth leakage sensor responds to the imbalance and cuts the power. This happens in a heartbeat, potentially preventing electrocution.
- A regular routine safety check is the best way to help keep your appliances and electrical fittings safe.
- Ensure that damaged power points and frayed, perished or damaged cords are replaced. Always have repairs and safety checks carried out by a licensed electrical contractor.
Water and electricity
- Water and electricity don't mix. Inside the workplace, the office kitchen is particularly dangerous because water is a conductor of electricity. An electric shock can be more serious if you have wet skin. So, remember never touch electrical appliances or switches with wet hands.
Other important safety tips
- Keep emergency numbers close to your telephone in case you need them quickly.
- Be careful using cables or extension cords. Make sure they are taped down and safe if they run across pedestrian areas.
- If you are a business owner, make sure you meet all your responsibilities and obligations under legislation.
- Ensure all employees are aware of safety regulations and make safety a personal priority in the workplace.