Most Dangerous Electrical Hazards in a Commercial Building

Electrical safety is one of the primary aspects to consider when setting up a commercial building. Whether offices or residential apartments, everyone should consider their safety when handling electrical power devices or cables. An electrical hazard may occur if electrical wires are not correctly placed or electrical appliances are mishandled or neglected. These may range from severe injury due to electrocution, electrical fires and even loss of life.

According to The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI, there were about 166 deaths in 2019 alone due to exposure to electric current. Although such occasions are easy to prevent, you must be able to identify them to prevent them from happening.

The following are some of the most dangerous electrical hazards found in commercial buildings: 

Damaged Wiring

Electrical wires are prone to fraying or cracking due to aging, extreme heat, corrosion or bending. Damaged wires are dangerous to anyone benefiting from the electrical line. For this reason, it’s important to know noticeable signs of faulty wiring. Below is how to tell if your wires are damaged:

  • Dimming lights in the building
  • Smoke coming from electric equipment
  • Buzzing or crackling sounds
  • Funny odors
  • Frequents blown fuses
  • Loose connections

Many electrical fires can be prevented if you’re able to recognize these signs and address them immediately with the help of professionals. Above all, creating awareness among renters, buyers and occupants of commercial buildings is key to preventing disasters.

Overloaded Sockets

Overloaded sockets can easily cause fire outbreaks. Employers and house owners should be able to determine how much power is required to run certain electrical appliances. Modern electrical appliances need high amps. Buildings with older wiring should be upgraded to meet the current electrical equipment demand.

It is also important to note that a wall socket should take only one socket extension lead. Never plug an extension lead into another extension lead. This is completely overloading the sockets and can easily cause a fire in the building. How? When a circuit breaker trips due to an overload, the electric flow to that circuit is cut off. Without a working circuit breaker, overheating will occur, causing the plastic insulation to melt. This is likely to cause a fire.

Portable Electrical Equipment

Regardless of the size or voltage, portable devices such as computers, kitchen appliances or entertainment equipment can pose a considerable danger if not handled or maintained correctly. Most electrical hazards in commercial buildings occur due to faulty appliances or cables, such as loose wiring or exposed internal parts of a gadget plugged into the socket. This is why it’s essential to test your appliances regularly to ensure they don’t pose a safety risk. A common test is Portable Appliance Testing (PAT).

Exposed Wiring

Exposed wiring poses a hazard to both employees and also building occupants. Naked wires can cause electrical shocks and even death when people or animals, such as squirrels, come into contact with them. Professional electricians should handle this. Do not try to do it yourself if you have no expertise.

Note: Extension cords and other wires lying on the floor should be well insulated and well placed. You can enhance the safety of these wires by passing them around the edges of the building or walls where no one can come into contact with them. 

Wet Areas

Electricity and water do not mix. Water is a good conductor of electricity and can pose a severe danger if a naked wire or electrical equipment comes into contact with water. Walking barefooted or touching a wet area can cause electrocution. It’s vital to ensure that all personnel’s hands are dry when working with electrical equipment to avoid potentially fatal electrical shocks.

Final Word

Electrical safety is of great importance in commercial buildings, just as in residential areas. Creating awareness among the building occupants and implementing protective strategies, such as regular inspections and repairs, can significantly reduce accidents, injuries, property loss or death due to electrical hazards. 

Box Electric Company is your go-to electrician for commercial electrical services, including installation, repair and maintenance. Our experts are conversant with the safety measures and regulations in wiring commercial buildings and ensure all installations are safe. For more information about our electrical services, reach out to us at (919) 871-0220 or send us a message online.