Overloaded plug sockets, extension lead ‘daisy chains’ and devices charged on beds: How people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic are putting themselves at risk with unsafe electrical setups
- During coronavirus lockdown millions of people are now working from home
- Safety experts have warned people not to overload electrical sockets
- Urge people not to plug extension cables into one another, called daisy chaining
- Reiterates advice to charge devices on hard surfaces and not on the bed
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
People working from home during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have been urged to be careful with their electrical devices.
Safety experts have specifically warned about overloading sockets, daisy chaining, and charging devices on beds during lockdown.
Electrical Safety First, a charity dedicated to at-home safety, is concerned that many may be putting themselves at unnecessary risk due to unsafe electrical set-ups.
Safety experts have specifically warned about overloading sockets, daisy chaining, and charging devices on beds during lockdown. Electrical Safety First, a charity dedicated to at-home safety, is concerned that many may be putting themselves at unnecessary risk (stock)
A recent survey by the charity found that a more than a third of people who are using extension leads to work from home are unaware of the risks they pose.
Almost half (44 per cent) of people who do use extension leads said they are guilty of daisy chaining — plugging an extension lead into another extension.
These are notorious electrical hazards and can pose a fire risk.
‘As many people set up temporary home offices and adjust to a new way of working, there could potentially be a rise in electrical fires,’ warned Rick Hylton, lead for home safety at the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC).
‘So, the fire service ask that you check you have working smoke alarms and a practised escape plan in case there is a fire.
‘But also make sure you follow the simple advice to reduce your risk of an electrical fire.
‘These fires are often preventable and the advice will not only keep you working safely at home but reduce the pressure on the fire service.’
Check the current rating of the extension lead before plugging appliances into it
Never overload an extension lead by plugging in appliances that together will exceed the maximum current rating stated for the extension lead
Use the overload calculator from Electrical Safety First, a charity dedicated to at-home safety to check if you’re exceeding the maximum load
Only use one socket extension lead per socket
Never plug an extension lead into another extension lead
Use a multi-way bar extension lead rather than a block
The survey of 3,000 people also suggests bad habits by home workers include questionable practices in the bedroom.
More than half of remote workers admitted to either often or sometimes placing an electrical item such as a laptop or phone on their bed while it is charging.
Lesley Rudd, chief executive of Electrical Safety First, said: ‘With 70 per cent of those currently working from home doing so for the first time due to Covid-19, it’s unsurprising that not everyone will have had a chance to ensure their work stations are free from electrical hazards.
‘Take a few minutes to make sure you’re not daisy-chaining extension leads or overloading your plug sockets, and that you are charging your devices on hard, non-flammable surfaces.’
‘We should all pay extra attention to electrical safety during our period of remote working.’
The charity urged the public to try its Socket Overload Calculator to check they are not plugging too many appliances in at once, on its website, electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk.
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