Electrical fires are unfortunately all too common - in fact, they account for over 20,000 fires per year in England alone. However, many electrical fires can be prevented through robust electrical maintenance programs. In this blog post, we'll overview key steps your business can take to reduce electrical fire risks.
Get Compliant, Stay Compliant
While regulations are in place to protect users from electrical hazards, compliance is the minimum - exceeding compliance is prudent to minimise fire risks. Key activities like electrical installation testing, portable appliance testing (PAT), and circuit breaker inspections should occur at appropriate intervals for your business type. Maintain detailed records of testing and repairs. Consider thermographic inspections beyond what regulations require to identify "hot spots" and catch issues early.
Keep Electrical Areas and Equipment Clean
Don't allow dust, debris or clutter to accumulate in electrical service rooms, panels or junction boxes. Schedule regular cleanings to keep these areas tidy and safe. Ensure electrical cabinets include proper fireproofing. Also keep flammable materials cleared from areas housing electrical equipment. Simple housekeeping goes a long way in preventing electrical fires!
Inspect, Then Double Inspect
Make thorough informal visual inspections of electrical systems part of regular maintenance routines. Watch for damaged insulation, loose connections, overheating and other red flags. Thermographic inspections can also identify "hot spots" not visible to the naked eye. The tiniest loose connection can cause dangerous arcs, sparks and heat if left unaddressed. Being proactive saves lives and assets.
Address Issues Quickly and Completely
When electrical inspection reports come back, have qualified electricians address all identified issues completely and promptly based on severity. Even minor issues left unresolved can become major fire hazards. Prioritise and track all repairs until full remediation.
Consider Extra Precautions
While regulations form a safety baseline, additional precautions can further reduce risks. For example, solar and EV charging systems introduce new electrical risks if not properly installed and maintained. Thermographic inspections beyond required points, extra equipment inspections, and preventative maintenance enhance safety.
Reducing electrical fire risks requires vigilance, but taking these proactive steps will help your business stay compliant, resilient and powered on safely. Reach out if you need guidance optimising your electrical safety program. Here's to staying energised and protected from electrical fires!