Fire safety is one of the most common office hazards to plan for while deciding on an office space to rent. As of 2012, approximately 17,500 office fires occurred, resulting in a $643 million worth of property damage. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), electrical issues are the usual causes of fires.
Hence, if your startup is about to move in its first dedicated office space, consider the overall state of the building you’ve selected. If it’s an old one with visible maintenance problems, have your office space professionally inspected for potential issues in the wiring. Space heaters and appliances must also be examined.
Below are the common electrical issues in buildings:
1. Frayed or Exposed Wires
The NSC advises office employees to regularly inspect power cords for frayed or exposed wires. If the third prong of a plug has been damaged or removed, it must never be used.
For exposed wires, a quick fix is to cover it with electrical tapes. However, it only offers temporary protection, because the tapes’ adhesives will eventually wear off. In the worst case scenario, the exposed wires are a live one, which can emit fire sparks and increase the chances of an office fire happening.
Therefore, call an electrician to have your sockets rewired, especially if those are combustible types.
2. Overloaded Outlets
When your team is growing, you’ll consequently purchase more equipment, causing you to use all your outlets. If you think using an extension cord to plug several computers at once is safe, think again, because overloaded outlets actually create a fire hazard.
Before purchasing an extension cord, be sure that it is approved by a certifying laboratory. And only plug one device at a time.
More commonly known as surges, transient is a lightning-fast striking of light. It occurs when there are high-voltage disruptions in the electrical system. It typically lasts for a split-second only, but it can damage all the plugged-in devices in your office.
Transients aren’t usually serious problems, but if they are recurring, you already need to call an electrician.
4. No RCCBor RCD
A Residual Current Circuit Breaker (RCCB) or simply Residual Circuit Device (RCD) detects and prevents low voltage circuit should a current leak occurs. If it detects a leakage, the RCD will automatically shut off.
It is important for homes and offices to have an RCD, because it significantly reduces the odds of an electrical shock happening. You can purchase one from stores with specialty electronic parts for sale.
5. Tripping Circuit Breaker
The name “circuit breaker” comes from its function, which is to break up the circuit when it detects an abnormality. Hence, if your circuit breaker trips, chances are there is an issue in the flow of the current.
To inspect and solve this problem, simply locate your office’s main electrical panel, and find the switch panel that has been shut off. Simply flip it back on, and the power in your office should be back to normal. Call an electrician if the tripping persists.
6. Persistent Bulb Burnouts
If your light bulbs frequently burnout despite being brand-new, it’s certainly racking up your expenses and wasting your resources. But that’s not because the bulbs you buy are faulty. It’s actually an issue in your office’s electrical system. There could be a high-voltage, improper air circulation, or some other problem.
You can check if the holder of the bulb is loose or depleted. But if neither is the case, call an electrician.
Even if nothing seems wrong in your office’s electrical system and overall maintenance, continue running regular checks. Don’t wait until your office is about to fall apart before calling in a professional! Implement fire safety measures as well, and train your employees how to use a fire extinguisher.