Some Common Office Space Electrical Hazards

Many people do not consider the electrical hazards in office spaces in Raleigh, NC. However, when you consider copy machines, computers, employee kitchenettes and space heaters, offices likely have the same risk factors as a factory floor. By knowing them, you can prevent them! Here are five of the most common office electrical hazards.

  • Extension cords: It’s one thing to use an extension cord because you have a presentation and the projector cord is not quite long enough to reach the outlet. But if anyone uses an extension cord to plug in a copier, computer or space heater every day, you have a problem. Extension cords wear out from people stepping on them or rolling a chair over them. Eventually, this places workers at risk for electric shock. They are also tripping hazards, and suddenly ripping one from an outlet may spark a fire. You are better off installing more outlets than being dependent on extension cords.
  • Outlet overload: The modern age is all about devices. One workspace may have a computer, multiple monitors, phone charger, Bluetooth speaker and space heater plugged into a single power strip. Even with a surge protector, this creates a giant demand on the outlet. If you have enough workers doing this, you likely face tripped circuits and power outages. At worst, you may face electric shocks and fires. Consider providing surge protectors with no more than six outlets, and you will reduce this risk.
  • Overheating: Electricity produces heat, and that heat needs to escape. If your environment traps it, wiring, devices and equipment overheat. This situation is especially dangerous if you cover wires with flooring, rugs or furniture—you risk sparking a fire. Also, overheated computers and copiers burn out their wiring, which can void warranties or equipment leases. To prevent this, make sure computers and copiers have adequate clearance from walls. Also, do not cover wires with anything that is not breathable. Rather than squish them with rugs or furniture, move them or leave them exposed to airflow.
  • Appliances: This issue was a greater concern before coffee makers with an automatic shutoff function. However, if the office kitchen contains microwaves, coffee makers and toaster ovens, unplug them when they are not in use. They are a fire hazard, but also add pressure on already loaded circuits. If you have a refrigerator, this consideration becomes especially important. You may wish to look into creating a separate circuit for your office kitchen.
  • Skipping maintenance: Unlike home environments, industrial or commercial premises are constantly being updated. We demand much more electricity in the age of computers and internet than we did 20 years ago, when offices still relied heavily on copy machines, land lines and other technologies we may not use as often these days.

Box Electric Company is a commercial electrician in Raleigh, NC. We can help you address common office electrical hazards and create a safer space with improved wiring and new outlets. Contact us today to schedule an estimate and eliminate these common office electrical hazards.