Whether you’re setting up a new business, taking over an existing one, or moving to another premises, you’re going to have a big ‘to do’ list. There will be plenty of tedious administrative work as well as all the practical stuff like building up inventory and equipment.
Nevertheless, it should be a fun and exciting time, as you get to build or rebuild a business from the ground up. Fitting out the workplace with all the furniture and equipment means you get to use a little bit of creative flair to make it a great place for you and your employees. And of course, you’re going to want a ripper of a coffee machine! Nothing will ingratiate you to your employees quite like kitting out the kitchen with top-of-the-range coffee machine.
No matter what stage of the process you’re at, though, you should always be thinking about how each decision you make affects the electrical safety of the building, your employees and your customers. At the end of the day, every decision needs to be made with electrical safety in mind, so let’s look at a few things to consider when setting up your new office.
Table of Contents
1. Ensure there are Enough Power Outlets
The chances that a building has the exact number of circuits already, and they’re output to exactly where you want them in every room is wishful thinking. And yes, it’s much easier to just run a bunch of power boards and extension cables to the existing outlets. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? Well, you could overload circuits, damage the equipment that is plugged into them, and potentially even start a fire. Yes, many power boards come with overload switches, but you really don’t want to be relying on a $30 power board to keep all that hard work and invested money from going up in flames. At the very least, it’s a huge drain on productivity to have to deal with overloaded circuits that could easily have been avoided when setting the workplace up to begin with.
You’ve also got to remember that your employees haven’t invested the money, time and effort that you have. They’re going to expect to be able to show up to work and do their job and may not be interested in working out how much voltage is being drained from a circuit, and whether it’s safer to plug their computer into the other one across the room. Employees are likely to just do whatever is easiest, and so it’s best that the easiest option for them is also the safest one because that’s how you set it up in the first place.
Make sure you have working safety switches installed on the switchboard. What is a safety switch? A safety switch is a mandatory safety device located on the main switchboard that automatically actrivates during a safety surge or power overload, shutting off the power to the property. It is vital for protecting any occupants in or around the property during an electrical emergency.
2. Cable Management
There’s nothing more frustrating than having loads of excess cable just thrown into a corner or under a desk in the hope that it will magically disappear. It won’t, and it can present both electrical and trip hazards. If you have equipped the office space with a suitable outlet layout, then you should be able to pretty accurately select the right cable lengths for all your office equipment. Ideally you want the least amount of excess power cable as possible. Too much excess power cable will most likely mean it will be incorrectly stored, potentially resulting in an induction loop that can cause a lot of heat and become a fire hazard. It’s also unsightly and a pain for everybody having to step over or around it.
3. Avoid any Potential Contact with live Electrical Current
Any kind of repairs or maintenance to the equipment or the building itself can present a potential safety hazard for your employees or customers. In such an event, it’s important that you have the protocols in place to block off areas where such work is being undertaken. Use barricades to keep unqualified personnel out, and use visible signage to indicate to people that they should avoid the area.
4. Make sure all your Employees know how to Safely Use Equipment
There isn’t likely to be any obviously dangerous equipment in an office, but anything that draws an electrical current is a potential danger, so it’s important that people know the correct start up and shut down procedures for everything in the office. Even things that they may not be required to use. For example, if a printer goes down, it’s important that employees know some basic diagnostic steps so that they don’t go fiddling around in compartments that may have ‘hot zones’. Even if there is minimal risk to the employee on a particular piece of equipment, you at least don’t want unqualified hands causing more damage and potentially creating a new electrical hazard.
5. All Electrical Work should be Carried out by Qualified Electricians
It’s tempting to just try to fix something yourself to save you the bother and the money to hire a sparky. But you really don’t want to take any shortcuts when working with electrical equipment or when making any alterations to the building’s circuits.
It is incredibly important that you hire a reputable Perth commercial electrician to ensure all work is being done safely. You may want to avoid that brief hit to your wallet, but trying to DIY an electrical problem is a recipe for disaster that you can easily avoid.