Businesses that operate daily probably don’t think much about the electrical aspects of the commercial building. The primary reason for this can be that these building aspects are pretty much out of sight anyway. Unfortunately, electrical hazards in commercial buildings are prevalent. It is the owner or employer’s primary obligation to minimize the risks of electrical hazards and make commercial spaces as safe as they can be.
Electrical safety for employees and guests alike is imperative in all kinds of workplaces. Employers and commercial building owners have to provide their employees and guests with a safe environment. The first step to avoiding potential electrical hazards in commercial spaces is awareness of the most dangerous and common electrical hazards. Fortunately, addressing such electrical risks is relatively simple. Here’s a compilation of some most common dangers that commercial buildings face in terms of the electrical aspect.
Faulty Electrical Design
A faulty electrical design is a significant problem for older electrical systems. An electrical system design depends on the age of the building. If the commercial building is already old, the electrical system probably has a design that meets very outdated electrical safety codes. In reality, a building doesn’t have to be as old as you might think about having ancient electrical work. Take note that electrical standards have changed over the years, and there’s always a good chance that the electrical wiring may not pass an up-to-date inspection.
Because tenants frequently come and go in commercial buildings, electrical systems in these buildings are often the most modified. While it could mean many meanings, the most notable change could result in loose, live wires that hide behind the commercial building’s walls. Suppose you’re unsure of the building age or the last complete quality inspection. In that case, the best bet is to schedule an assessment with a qualified commercial electrical company to ensure the absence of major fire hazards in the building.
It doesn’t matter what type of electrical equipment it is– it can still pose dangerous electrical hazards if improperly used. Moreover, exposure to live electrical equipment can cause severe injuries, and in worst cases, death. Other injuries, such as falling off scaffolds, ladders, or other suspended platforms, can result from electrical shock. It is for these reasons that practicing equipment safety protocols is imperative when using electrical equipment. Conducting regular safety seminars and other educational sessions can help inform the employees and employers on safe electrical equipment handling.
There is also another way of adding safety in keeping and maintaining electrical equipment and electrical wirings. The installation of fire-rated access doors and panels can be handy in fire outbreaks. This building equipment helps, especially if you want to keep electrical equipment away from employees and tenants’ path.
Wet Areas and Improper Handling
It might surprise you that workers get electrocuted because they operate an electrical circuit with wet fingers. It doesn’t matter whether it is as simple as flicking a light switch or picking up a hedge trimmer– electricity and water don’t go together. You can prevent this kind of accident with proper health and safety education. Unfortunately, a lapse in judgment or mishandling due to stupidity is out of your hands. The best way is to inform employees about the risks of electricity.
It is best to put up signage outside such areas to remind the employees to dry their hands for wet locations. When electricity or outlets get exposed to water, the incidence of electrical risk dramatically increases. Electric equipment should be away from any source of water. It also includes ensuring that all hands of the personnel are dry when dealing with electrical equipment to prevent life-threatening electrical shocks.
Cables or wires that no longer function properly can pose a dangerous electrical hazard and should be removed immediately. It includes frayed electrical wires, exposed or loose wires that need immediate replacement. Faulty or damaged wiring doesn’t only cause electric shock but also fires. If you want to prevent this hazard, make sure that you schedule regular inspections for your electrical wiring.
Overloaded circuits due to old wiring are one of the most dangerous electrical hazards in a commercial building. In simple words, circuits aged 20 years and older do not handle large printers and smart devices. Older wirings are often only rated for lower amps than what is required by many of today’s modern-day appliances and business equipment today. Overloading low amp wiring or circuits can cause dangerous electrical fires.
Moreover, it is essential to remember that outlets can only handle so much. Overusing outlets is a sure way to overwhelm and overheat low amp wiring, becoming a severe fire hazard. Suppose an outlet already poses a potential threat to employee safety. In that case, it is high time to bring in a professional electrician who will perform maintenance on any outlets or install circuit interrupters in old breakers.
Portable electrical equipment
The most common electrical accident in commercial properties is often caused by faulty appliances, regardless of whether built-in or standalone. While it is critical to have portable equipment tested every 24 months, you can be one step ahead if you have them tested every 12 months. Not regularly testing electrical equipment presents a dangerous hazard, especially since appliances can become hazardous in only a short time. Besides, many things can happen, such as a mouse chewing away at the wiring or simply a dishwasher’s circuit going haywire.
Exposed wiring poses two types of dangerous hazards– a naked wire with no isolated current; and a threat from a wire that causes a tripping hazard such as extension cords. An exposed wire hanging from the ceiling or at the back of a cupboard is dangerous. It is essential to avoid anyone from touching them, so it is vital to call an electrician. Furthermore, extension cord wires trailing the commercial property floor should have safety and hazard tapes that stick them close to the ground, with a notice sign. If possible, it is better to trail the wire around the edge of the rooms.
Commercial buildings are often busy since they accommodate people, whether they are office buildings or condominiums. Hence, the same should be safe from electrical hazards. Ensuring that commercial building occupants are well-informed about dangerous electrical hazards can lessen the risks of accidents and injuries. Moreover, it can help include access doors that can help hide electrical wirings instead of trailing on the floor.
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