Working from home has a lot of benefits. Not only are you saving money on commuting and expensive lunches out… but there are so many meetings that can now be carried out as emails!
As you are in a familiar environment when working from home, you may let your guard down a little. However, it’s just as important as ever to stay safe and protect yourself from potential hazards.
Here are some of the ways you can keep your electrical equipment safe when working from home.
- Don't leave laptops and phones charging on a bed or soft surface
- Check your equipment before you use it
- Don't overload plug sockets
- Turn off and unplug equipment if you're not using it
- Take care if you have created a new office space
Don’t leave laptops and phones charging on a bed or soft surface
As lovely as it would be for everyone to have a dedicated space to work, this isn’t always the case. Some of us have to work wherever we can, whether that is in the kitchen, living room or bedroom!
If this is the case, don’t leave your laptop or phone charging on a soft surface while you take a lunch break or pop out to run an errand.
This happens more than you might think. For example, we carried out research a short while ago and found that 1 in 12 people leave their phone charging under a pillow.
Why is this so dangerous? It can block vents and cause the device to overheat, causing a potential fire risk.
If you need to charge your work equipment, do it on a hard, non-flammable surface like a table or countertop.
Check your equipment before you use it
You wouldn’t get in a car that has a wheel falling off and a smashed windscreen… so why would you use a laptop or computer that is looking worse for wear?
Always get in the habit of checking your work equipment before you use it. Look for the following:
- Is the cable frayed?
- Are the wires exposed?
- Is the cable a potential trip hazard?
- Is the casing cracked?
- Is the casing warped?
- Is the casing discoloured?
- Is the casing scorched or burned?
- Is the plug socket damaged?
- Are the pins loose?
- Are you using extension reels or sockets? If yes, are they coiled, twisted or overloaded?
- Can you hear, smell or see anything unusual when you turn the equipment on?
If you are concerned about the equipment you have been given, don’t use it, and ask your line manager to arrange a replacement.
Don’t overload plug sockets
Extension leads can come in handy when working from home, but you need to take care not to overload them.
Turn off and unplug equipment if you’re not using it
It’s 5pm and the working day is done.
Before you take the short commute from the office to the living room or kitchen, be sure to turn off and unplug your equipment.
Plugged in equipment still draws small amounts of power, meaning that it could potentially overheat when you are not in the room.
Another benefit of this is that you can save money up to £80 by taking your equipment off standby.
Staying safe and money in your pocket is always a winning combination!
Take care if you have created a new office space
Many people built 'shoffices' during lockdown - home offices in outbuildings like sheds, garages, sunrooms and conservatories.
These new spaces can have a higher risk of fire. This is because the buildings are more prone to water, snow and ice, and have less electrical sockets than rooms in the home.
Are your staff working from home? Electrical equipment testing is still important
If staff are working from home, you are still responsible for their safety and wellbeing.
If you get electrical equipment testing (also known as PAT testing) carried out in the workplace, you should extend it to home workers too.
There are two ways of carrying out electrical equipment testing for your home workers. You can get the engineer to visit them at home or ask your employees to bring their equipment in for testing when they next come into the office.
Hawkesworth has years of experience carrying out testing for businesses with home workers, including the NHBC.