17 Jan How to limit electrical fire risk in your commercial property
Electrical fires are a major source of worry for all businesses, especially since we rely on electricity now more than ever. It has never been so important to take all the necessary steps to protect your commercial property from the risk of electrical fire.
Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to minimise the risks and keep your business premises safe.
- Ensure your wiring is safe
Many commercial properties were built a long time ago, when safety standards were not nearly as stringent as they are today. In addition, the materials used were often of lower quality, and are likely to have deteriorated considerably over time.
To reduce the risk of an electrical fire in your business property, the first thing you need to do is having your wiring thoroughly checked by a qualified and experienced professional. If they find any faults, they will be able to advise you on what needs to be done to put things right and ensure the electrical system in your building meets all modern safety standards.
- Have your electrical appliances serviced
Electrical equipment in commercial properties is often not looked after as well as it should be, as everyone is so busy that they do not have the time. However, older appliances which have not been cleaned and maintained properly are much more hazardous when it comes to the risk of fire.
To minimise this risk, you should have all your appliances, particularly those which are older, fully cleaned and serviced by an electrical specialist. This will not only make your electrical appliances safer, it will also make them run more efficiently and prolong their lifespan, saving your business money.
- Do not overload plug sockets or fuses
So many different electrical devices are used in business environments these days that there often are not enough sockets to go round. Because of this, we are increasingly using multiplugs and extension leads to ensure every device is ready to use whenever we need it.
However, this can be a highly dangerous practice. All plug sockets have a limit on how many amps it can safely handle, and exceeding this limit can increase the risk of electrical fire. It is essential to check the limit on every socket, and ensure the sockets in your workplace are not being overloaded.
The same is true of fuses. If you need to change a fuse in any of your electrical devices, you must ensure it is the right fuse for the device. Choosing the wrong one can overload the fuse and cause the power cable to overheat, which increases the risk of the device catching fire.
- Switch to LED lighting
Many electrical fires in commercial properties are caused by lights being placed too close to flammable substances. The first thing to do here is to make sure all your lights are safely positioned away from anything which could catch fire. However, you can increase safety even further by switching to LED lighting.
The reason LED lighting is safer is that it converts almost all of the energy it uses into light, unlike traditional halogen bulbs, which also produce a lot of heat. The less heat your lighting is producing, the less risk of fire.
- Switch off all electrical equipment when not in use
To minimise the risks of electrical fire, you should ensure all your electrical devices are switched off and unplugged when they are not being used. However, this is often impractical in a business property, where people are too busy to remember. Devices such as computers and printers are often left on all the time, even overnight, when there is nobody in the building. This increases the risk of a fire occurring and getting out of control.
You can minimise this risk by installing timer switches, which fit between the plug and the socket, and can be programmed to switch off the device automatically once a certain amount of time has passed since it was last used. This will not only reduce the risk of fire, it will also save your business considerable amounts of money.
Want more advice on reducing fire risks at work?
If you would like to find out more about reducing the risk of electrical fires in the workplace, please contact us. As highly qualified and experienced professional electricians, we advise hundreds of businesses on improving their electrical systems to make their commercial property safer.