UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Electrical Safety in the Office

Since we spend at least 30% of our lives at our jobs it makes sense that we would want to make our work area comfortable.  In addition to the many pieces of equipment essential to do our work (computers, telephones, facsimile machines) many of us like to bring into the office other "comforts of home."  These things may include radios, drink warmers, desk lamps, clocks, fans, and even space heaters, microwaves ,and coffee pots.  This is fine as long as a few safety rules are kept in mind.

Electricity flowing through common household appliances has the potential to shock, burn, and create heat hazards like fires and arc blasts.  Since these are your personal items it is your responsibility to keep them in good condition and properly use them.

Read the Label

Manufacturers go to great lengths writing instructions that limit even the most obvious misuse of their product.  Take advantage of it!  Always read and follow the labels on appliances and cords.

Grounding

Your chances of avoiding an electrical injury are largely up to you.  95% of electrical accidents happen because of a faulty, improperly grounded or misused appliance.

Never remove the grounding post from a three-prong plug!

Inspect cords and ensure they are not frayed. If they are, let an electrician repair the cord or you can recycle the appliance.  Do not try to tape the cord or continue to use it in poor condition.

Electricity runs through every path available to it.  So when you touch a live electrical component - even through the appliance may be grounded - YOU become part of the electrical path to ground!  Anything more than 0.01 A is enough to cause irreparable injury (including death!!!)

Never Overload Appliances and Circuits

It's easy to avoid.  Simply add up the amperage load before you plug things in.  If, for example, you are plugging multiple items into a powerstrip having a "15 A (amp)" current maximum, just add up the amps of the appliances you plan to plug in.

Circuit Overloading
Never overload appliances and circuits!

Water and Electricity

Water and electricity don't mix!  Of course!  Keep electrical appliances and cords high and dry.  Few (and very expensive) appliances are designed for use in wet conditions.  Anything else presents an electrocution risk near water. 

A few precautions will make your comfortable office a safe one.

Source: OSHA Subpart S 1910.300 - .399  & UW System Factsheet.

Original conversion program by Matt Alfson of UWRF.

For more information contact the Facilities Office - (715)-425-3827   

Risk Management Office (715)-425-3344

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Contact Us

Risk Management
Email: Connie Smith, MS
Phone: 715-425-3344
Fax: 715-425-4980
25H North Hall

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