Office fire hazards are bad for business. Based on the most recent reports from the National Fire Protection Association, in the 5-year span, there were 3,340 fires in offices nationwide. Such fires often have a devastating impact on American businesses, resulting in loss of data and lives some may never recover from. Ensuring a safe, reliable electrical system is integral to office fire safety, however, the office environment poses numerous fire safety risks.
Is My Wiring a Fire Hazard?
Before your business comes to a screeching halt due to the aftermath of an electrical fire, be on the lookout for these signs your electrical system is in dire need of a safety inspection:
- Old Wiring
- Buildings more than 50-years old could harbor dangerous non-metallic, aluminum, and knob and tube wiring – one of the top 5 causes of an electrical fire.
- Frequently Tripping Breakers
- Breakers are designed to trip to prevent circuits from overloading. If you’re blowing the same fuse repeatedly, that circuit is likely overloaded. Talk to your electrician about an additional circuit or line.
- Hot/Smoking or Melted/Scorched Outlets
- Outlets should never become uncomfortably hot. If they do, they’re wired incorrectly and require immediate attention. Overloaded outlets can also lead to this phenomenon. If employees need more outlets, add them. They’re far cheaper than the cost of raised insurance premiums subsequent to fire damage and injuries.
- Flickering/Dimming Lights
- Because lights use little electricity, flickering/dimming lights are typically not an issue with the light itself, but with larger electronics and appliances wired into the same (overloaded) circuit. If your lights flicker and dimmer when major appliances turn on, your office electrical is in need of attention.
- Buzzing Lights/Outlets
- Light switches and outlets are particularly susceptible to faulty wiring. If you hear buzzing from any switches or outlets, contact a pro immediately.
- Rodent Infestation & Damage
- Rodents will chew through anything, including the insulation of electrical wires, which when exposed poses shock and fire hazards.
When Should I Have an Electrical Inspection?
The time to schedule an electrical inspection in your office is now. Since it takes a trained eye to inspect problems, a licensed professional electrician is essential in investigating the safety of your office electrical system and informing you about the necessary wiring and electrical system component upgrades. Remember, having office wiring inspected and updated goes beyond safety, enhancing your business’ functionality and dependability, and helping your business keep up with today’s continually increasing power needs.
Ways to Safeguard Employees and Your Business
Electrical and fire safety is everyone’s responsibility. The best way to safeguard employees and your business are to keep everyone informed on how to prevent electrical fires, what to do in the event of an emergency, and how to identify (and report) electrical fire risks. This includes being aware of issues related to the age and state of your electrical system, as well as usage-related threats such as damaged cords, overloaded outlets, burned or worn outlets, wires, and electronics, and the proximity of combustibles to danger zones. Not sure where to start? The first step is identifying key electrical safety risks with the help of a knowledgeable licensed electrician. You can also look to OSHA for proven electrical and fire safety educational materials and tips.