Safety is paramount for all businesses, regardless of the size and scale of operations.
Electrical hazards are perhaps the most daunting for business owners because they can cause electrocution, fire, falls, and more mishaps.
The scary part is that electrical risks abound in workplaces due to electrical wiring, exposed cables, machinery, and appliances around the premises.
Whether you run a large industrial unit, a small office, a restaurant, or a commercial retail space, you must ensure the safety of your employees, customers, and visitors.
Thousands of accidents in the US happen annually only because of a lack of awareness and proper safety measures.
But the good thing is that a little caution is enough to address the risk and prevent accidents.
Here are some best practices for electrical system safety in the workplace.
1. Perform regular risks assessments
Regular risk assessments are the best start when protecting your premises from hazards. American business owners are legally responsible for conducting such assessments, which is also an ethical duty. Testing your electrical equipment gives you the benefit of avoiding risks.
The primary objective of such assessments is to identify all potential risks to people and the severity of the injury that may happen during a mishap. Typically, an electrical risk assessment comprises the following steps-
- Identifying the electrical work in the system
- Pinpointing existing and potential risks
- Evaluating the risks and deciding on the relevant precautions
- Recording findings and implementing control measures
- Reviewing the risk assessment and updating when necessary
2. Prevent wet areas around electrical equipment
This one is a no-brainer because leaks and spills around the electrical equipment can pose an immense danger to people in the area.
Being a business owner, you must take relevant precautions to prevent such risks. Keep water and liquids at a safe distance (at least 5 feet away) from sources of electricity.
Experts recommend installing Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) as they serve as a reliable defence against incidents like an electrical shock, overheating, fires, ground faults, and the destruction of wire insulation.
3. Set up safety signage
Safety signage is crucial in all workplaces as it warns employees and visitors about potential hazards and relevant actions to prevent them.
A simple sign is often enough to keep people safe and prevent massive damage to the organisational reputation you want to build. Ensure that relevant signs are placed within proximity of hazardous equipment and wires.
The display signs should be prominent and have clear language explaining the hazards. Moreover, they must have life-saving information regarding what to do and whom to contact if an electrical mishap occurs.
4. Ensure clutter-free space
A cluttered workplace is an invitation to hazards, including electrical hazards. Haphazard wiring and untidy cords can cause clutter in your workplace and endanger people.
Besides electrical hazards, they also cause slip and fall risks on the business premises. Imagine people tripping only because they fail to notice the cords running around the floor.
The easiest way to eliminate the risk is by calling experts to clean the place by installing wires and cords properly and tidily. Remove the ones that are no longer in use because they can pose unnecessary risks.
5. Protect the electrical outlets
A simple measure like protecting the electrical outlets on your work premises can go a long way in preventing accidents.
Consider childproofing them if you want to start a retail business or restaurant because little ones tend to reach risky areas. You can cover the outlets or ensure they are out of reach.
Be aware of electrical lines if workers work outdoors at heights because contact with the mains can be life-threatening. Install signage so that employees are watchful enough to avert the threat.
6. Collaborate with experts for installations
Organisations require complex electrical installations, from wires and fuse boxes to indoor and outdoor lighting, wired smoke detectors, attic fans, circuit breaker panels, and surge protection.
You may also need to upgrade systems down the line as your business grows and requires more complex installations. Steer clear of a DIY approach and call experts to handle installations and upgrades.
For example, you can collaborate with expert electricians in Northern Virginia for a business in this location.
Look for local experts and stick to the same provider for the long haul.
A long-term association means they know your system inside out, so they can assess your risks and recommend apt safety measures over the years.
7. Invest in equipment maintenance
Regular equipment maintenance is another electrical system best practice you cannot overlook. The good thing about regular maintenance is that it does more than keep your systems safe over the years.
A preventive approach also minimises the need for repair, curbs downtime, and extends the lifespan of wires and devices.
You can rely on your electrical installation partners to take care of the maintenance checks and repair requirements. Ensure regular checks for wear and tear, cleaning and upkeep, adding and testing lubricants, and essential repairs.
Check for build-up and leaks around seals, as they can also pose safety risks to workers.
8. Avoid overloading outlets
Commercial spaces need to run more appliances or tools from time to time.
Your employees may use extension leads to plug additional devices in without realising the implications of exceeding the maximum current rating for the extension lead.
Keep an eye on outlets and ensure that employees do not overburden them with more appliances than they can handle. Protect your company from employee negligence.
The worst happens when the power outlets are overloaded, leading to overheating.
Running them for a long time can cause a fire.
Besides implementing these best practices for electrical safety, you must take a proactive approach to everyday threats such as security measures for your business premises.
Flickering lights, strange sounds, and telltale odours require immediate attention because these signs may indicate an impending disaster.
Call an expert without delay to check the wiring and appliances, and address the problems sooner than later. Being vigilant can prevent disasters and accidents on your business premises and save your employees, customers, and visitors from severe injuries.
Moreover, it strengthens your reputation as a business owner who genuinely cares for people.