Thursday, 4 November 2010

Electrical Safety When Working From Home

Most of us wish we had the option to work from home from time to time, well I do anyway. The thought of being able to roll out of bed a little later, to have a leisurely breakfast, hey maybe cook myself some scrambled eggs on toast and then casually turn on my laptop in my PJ's, all in the privacy of my own home sounds oh so great to me!

I think you would all agree that for that very same reason of why I would love to work from home is also a very good reason why I shouldn't! Don't get me wrong I am hard working person yet I see home as my place to relax so my work ethic may turn into more of a laid back affair which would probably turn into me not achieving very much in my day, so really and truly I am better getting up super early and facing the London commute like most people do and working from our Waterloo office.

For those of you that do have that privilege of working at home (and are obviously more disciplined than me) the team at Fulcher Edwards wondered how many homeworkers with electrical equipment provided by there employers, have some type of electrical maintenance in place or if there just left to get on with things? You know the 'well it works' attitude that some companies tend to suffer with unfortunately.

Although the home is the responsibility of a homeworker they are only actually responsible for their own equipment which is purchased by themselves.

Employers should have steps in place like the ones below which are recommended by the HSE to keep there homeworkers safe and prevent harm or injury, ensuring that all electrical equipment is turned off before.

1) Check that plugs are not damaged
2) Check the domestic electrical systems are adequate for electrical equipment
3) Check plugs are correctly wired and maintained
4) Check that the outer covering of the cable or wire is gripped where it enters the plug or the equipment
5) Check that the outer corner of the equipment is not damaged, for example look for loose parts or screws
6) Check leads, wires or cables for damage to the outer covering
7) Check for burn marks or staining that suggests overheating
8) Repair electrical equipment that may cause harm or injury to the homeworker
9) Check that there are no trailing wires; if there are, tuck them out of the way,
for example under a desk or table to prevent accidents

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) places duties on employers, self-employed people and employees. Under this law employers have a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees, this also includes homeworkers. The safe use of electricity at work is covered by the Electricity At Work Regulations 1989.

Although homeworkers have a slightly different set up, there safety is equally as important as workers in an office environment and electrical maintenance needs to be in place regarding there equipment such as portable appliance testing. The type of maintenance procedures employers have in place will depend on whether hazards are low or high risk.

If you work from home then why not speak with your employer about what procedures are in place as maintaining your electrical equipment is important for a number of reasons, mainly to avoid electrical faults as they can cause a fire.

If you are a homeworker we would be interested to hear what electrical safety procedures your employer has in place?