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Tips on Providing Electrical Safety in Buildings

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Every system in any commercial building needs to function as efficiently as possible. When talking about building systems, it covers everything– even its electrical system that supplies power to every building part. Hence, ensuring that the electrical system performs well is a must.

Another critical thing to remember is that commercial buildings are mostly active almost every day compared to residential buildings. The electrical system will get damaged at some point, which can be extremely dangerous, especially when the damaged part is exposed. Many people have had their fair share of experience with electrical shocks due to exposed parts. It must not happen in commercial buildings where a lot of people come and go every day. It can be awful for businesses when unsuspecting guests contact these damaged electrical parts and potentially cause severe or fatal injuries.

No commercial business wants to face lawsuits toward the owner. Therefore, building owners need to keep their commercial buildings as safe as possible, which is why they should follow these tips recommended by expert electricians:

Providing Electrical Safety Guidelines

To ensure safer commercial buildings, the employees should learn and follow a program about working on or around any electrical component. Usually, employee safety programs need to address the following essential subjects:

  • Determining a safe distance from unprotected electrical conductors
  • Pointing out electrical hazards
  • Learning about the OSHA rules and how they apply in areas such as the workplace, job, and sanctions for non-compliance
  • Learning correct work procedures in wet areas exposed to electricity

These electrical safety guidelines are critical in keeping a commercial building safe. Building owners will always get a good night’s rest, knowing that their building is up to date with the current safety rules and regulations.

Fixing Damaged Outlets as Quickly as Possible

Electrical outlets are present on every floor and area of a commercial building. After a few years, these GFCI outlets will experience all sorts of problems, such as wires sticking out of the sockets, loose covers, or even grounded sockets. Wires coming out of the socket are among the most dangerous electrical issues as this can electrocute unaware people. One can get shocked by merely brushing their skin or even clothes near the wires.

Maintenance personnel always keep an eye out for damaged sockets in a commercial building. Here are the usual signs that may require them to replace the damaged sockets:

  • Discolored sockets
  • Cracked wall outlets
  • Plugs easily falling out
  • Buzzing sounds
  • Sparks when plugged in
  • Burning smell

These issues should never be ignored by maintenance personnel, as it can lead to even more significant damage to the area where the sockets are. Some building fires occur because of a single electrical outlet fire that spread throughout the building. But with electricians working and looking for damaged electrical outlets, this scenario will never happen.

Replacing Damaged Cords in Commercial Appliances

Commercial appliances should also be replaced with new ones when used or repaired multiple times throughout the years. Aside from the internal parts, the cord can wear out due to continuous plugging and unplugging in the socket. They can also get frayed because of getting stepped on, pinched by tables or chairs, or accidentally unplugging the cord.

While the cord gets beat up from time to time, the wires are slowly getting exposed, which is already a potential hazard. In some cases, people might suddenly get electrocuted when they grab the damaged cord while it’s plugged in. There are even instances where damaged wires can get so hot that the rubber insulation melts. Employees inside the building might not be aware of it and place the cables near flammable materials, namely papers, curtains, rugs, and even flooring, causing it to burn and possibly start a building fire. It is the reason why most commercial buildings nowadays have fire-rated access doors installed on walls and ceilings.

When employees spot a frayed or worn-out cord of a commercial appliance, they need to have those repaired or replaced right away to prevent potential fires and building damage.

Paying Attention to Light Fixtures

It may sound funny, but the light fixtures in a building are sometimes the common culprit for electrical problems. Light fixtures that didn’t undergo maintenance for quite some time can have underlying issues. Exposed electrical wires behind the lights might be the reason why you smell burning plastic.

Regular maintenance is essential. For quality inspection of the light fixtures, contacts a commercial electrician to get the job done correctly. They may find the underlying issues and fix them before they cause entirely significant building damage.

Unplugging or Turning Off Unused Appliances

Every time employees finish with their shift, all unused appliances or devices need to be unplugged. Even when the machines are off, there’s still current flowing, and that’s causing the electricity meter to keep running. There are some commercial appliances like air conditioners that are not usually off to keep computers cool. A simple method of unplugging unused appliances can save the commercial building a fair amount of electricity bill.

Replacing Damaged Circuit Breakers

A circuit breaker that keeps tripping can be a sign that it needs replacement. A damaged circuit breaker will only lead to more incoming issues that can only cause more money to spend by the building owner. It would be best to call a licensed electrician at once because only they can replace the circuit breakers. Also, here are 4 circuit breakers that people need to know about:

Single-Pole Circuit Breakers

Usually found in residential properties, this circuit breaker is designed for a single wire and trips when it detects an electrical overload. These are the ones that deliver 120 volts and can take in up to 15 to 30 amps.

Double-Pole Circuit Breakers

This type of circuit breaker can monitor the electrical current through two wires together. It can trip one or both of the electrical cables when a short or overloading happens. The double-pole circuit delivers either 120/240 or 240 volts and can accommodate between 15 to 200 amps. It is useful whenever large, and heavy-duty appliances are inside commercial buildings like floor-mounted air conditioners.

GFCI Circuit Breakers

Every building that is close to the water is required to have this type of circuit breaker. Its design protects people when there’s a dangerous electrical path between an electrical current and a grounded element.

AFCI Circuit Breakers

Buildings need this type of circuit breaker when an electrical cord’s internal wires are exposed to flammable materials and could result in a fire. This circuit breaker can detect electrical arcs, whereas the single and double-pole circuit breakers cannot since they only trip when there’s excessive heat.

Commercial buildings won’t have any problems ensuring electrical safety when they follow these helpful tips. Providing additional safety features might entail the installation of fire-rated access doors. For your access door needs, you may visit Access Doors and Panels today.

Michal Pukala
Electronics and Telecommunications engineer with Electro-energetics Master degree graduation. Lightning designer experienced engineer. Currently working in IT industry.