Working from home has become a novelty this COVID-19 season. Less commuting, more time with family and a flexible work environment has allowed people to work in a more comfortable space. But with this, comes various issues that need to be made known as a result of this.
Electrical Safety First has found that more people are overloading sockets and daisy-chaining. With the increasing use of electrical equipment such as work laptops, phones and heaters, their survey has found more than two-thirds of these people are using adaptors or extensions with the devices in use, and thirty-eight per cent having more appliances plugged into one than normal.
Furthermore, more than 1 in 3 are either unaware of the risks of overloading plug socket or how to check they are doing so. Even more concerning is the forty-four per cent of those currently working from home using extension lead or adaptors in their setup, admitting to daisy-chaining.
Whilst we might have gotten accustomed to a cosy environment, knowing the potential dangers is imperative to prevent accidents in your home. This is why we’ve collated the most important electrical safety tips that will help you keep your home a safe and secure place when working from home.
How To Prioritise Health and Electrical Safety Whilst Working From Home
Unplug Appliances That Aren’t In Use
As well as saving energy, unplugging unused home appliances reduces the risks of electric shocks or fires. Appliances that you may forget about might include televisions, DVD players, gaming consoles or cable TV boxes.
Ensuring Cords Aren’t Trip Hazards
Often when working from home, we choose the most convenient location to work without considering the space we inhabit. Cords placed under carpets, rugs or doors are trip hazards that may hurt you or others around you causing significant health damage.
Consider Electrical Safety And Never “Daisy Chain” Extension Leads
“Daisy chaining” refers to the practice of plugging one power strip into another power strip. This is dangerous because excessive amounts of power drawn from a single outlet means the power strip or wall could easily overload.
In which case, you may want to move your workspace closer to the socket or use a longer lead. And make sure you only use the one extension lead per socket. Instead of a block adaptor, we recommend using a multi-way extension instead. This is because block adaptors don’t have a fuse which can increase the risk of overloading and fire.
Take Safe Measures And Test Your Smoke Alarms Every Month
This may sound tedious, but testing your smoke alarms is one of the most important preventative measures you can take. You can do so by holding the test button until the alarm sounds. You should also change the battery once a year (unless it’s a ten-year alarm).
On top of this, even if you are working from home, carrying out a Fire Risk Assessment would help you determine the measures to reduce or eliminate the risk of fire and identify persons at risk.
Be Mindful During Lunchtime
Since many of us are cooking lunch at home, for the time being, it’s important not to get distracted by work calls or emails that could result in hobs or ovens being left on, unattended.
Keep Your Workstation Tidy
Whether you’re working in a small or large workspace, it is important to keep your hot and cold drinks away from electrical items. Electricity and liquids are never a good mix! When they do meet, fluids can destroy electronic circuits and cause you a serious shock.
In the event that you do manage to spill liquids over your laptop, the quicker you turn off the device, the better. You would then need to open your laptop as wide as possible and turn it upside down to dry and allow for the liquid to drip out. We advise waiting a minimum of 48 hours before turning it on again.
Portable Appliance Testing
Employer health and safety responsibilities remain the same even if you are working from home. This is primarily done by making sure any electrical equipment you take home is safe to use.
Faulty or damaged equipment poses a risk of fire and electrical shock. If you have bought electrical appliances at home and set them up yourself, the best way to make sure the appliance is safe is to get it tested with PAT testing.
In between having PAT test checks, it’s important that you are constantly checking equipment, plugs and wall sockets are a must.
Signs of wear and tear include:
- Damaged or frayed leads
- Blackness or scorch marks around a plug or appliance
- Any form of damage to the plug
- Melted plastic on appliance casings or leads
- Sparks or smoke coming from an appliance
- Insulation or bare wires showing on a plug or appliance
Safety Tips For Ensuring Health and Safety Whilst Working From Home
If you’re looking to find out more about health and safety regulations, we’d love to help you out.
We also recommend reading our blog post which discusses who is responsible for EICR tests if you are working from home. Testing electrical installations and appliances checks that there are no faults or problems with the electrics, casings and sockets and that electricity cannot escape from them.