The possible electrical dangers faced by Britain’s army of home workers are revealed with the help of mobile thermal imaging technology. For millions of us our homes are now our offices, but very few of us are aware of potential electrical safety hazards in our home-office setups or how to ensure we safely accommodate the equipment we use every day.
These images, captured with the new Cat S62 Pro thermal imaging smartphone, show the fire risks that poorly thought through domestic office setups can cause.
The gallery of images, captured in a home working environment, shows the varying levels of heat invisible to the naked eye that is produced by different electrical setups and devices. The images show common habits including: charging laptops and phones on flammable surfaces, stacking equipment due to lack of space, daisy-chaining extension leads, overloaded sockets, routers covered with office materials, extension cables covered with household items.
Working from home is now commonplace but little thought is given to the set-up of our temporary work desks, many just working wherever there is space. New research commissioned by Bullitt Group, shows electrical safety checks by employers have dropped by nearly half (a decrease of 46%) since lockdown.
Working closely with Electrical Safety First, Bullitt Group has come up with some simple guidelines to make the home office environment safer.
Key tips include:
– Avoid overloading sockets
– Do not leave phones or laptops plugged in to charge overnight and don’t charge on a bed – always charge on a hard, flat, non-flammable surface
– Don’t “daisy chain” extension leads. If your cable doesn’t reach, don’t plug it into another adaptor. Move your workspace closer to the socket or use a longer lead
– Regularly check electrical cords and extension cords for damage
– Only use extension cords on a temporary basis
– Do not plug a space heater or fan into an extension cord or power strip
– Do not run cords under rugs / carpets, doors, or windows
– Make sure cords do not become tripping hazards
– Keep papers and other potential combustibles at least 1m away from space heaters and other heat sources
– Make sure you use the right wattage for lamps / lighting
– Only use chargers provided with the product and buy any replacements from reputable retailers you know and trust
– Keep your work area tidy and keep drinks away from electrical items
– Make sure your home has smoke alarms. Test them monthly and replace the unit every 10 years or as directed by the manufacturer.