Work safely from home

Huge numbers of people across North Wales are currently working from home because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

They have had to adapt to a new routine and find a suitable space in the home where they can concentrate away from the rest of the family. Some will be fortunate enough to already have an office in their homes, but the majority, who have never had to work from home before,  have had to create a space and set up all their required equipment.

Leading consumer Charity, Electrical Safety First, has conducted research across Wales into the dangers to which remote workers in Wales may be unknowingly exposing themselves and has found that,

with the increased use of electrical equipment in many homes , such as work laptops, tablets, phones and heaters, more than two thirds of those in Wales currently working from home are using extension leads or adaptors with the electronic device they’re working on and almost half of them have more appliances plugged into one than they usually would.

Worryingly, almost a third are either unaware of the risks of overloading plug sockets or how to check whether they’re doing so. By using extension leads and adaptors to plug additional devices into a socket, there is a danger that they could be overloaded, creating a fire risk.  

Even more concerning is the fact that over half of those in Wales currently working from home using extension leads or adapters as part of their setup admit to ‘daisy-chaining’ them together. Daisy-chaining involves plugging one extension into another in order to reach further or plug more appliances in, and is advised against in all circumstances.

Another issue identified by the Charity is misuse of electrical goods in the bedroom, with 52 per cent of those surveyed in Wales either often or sometimes placing an electrical item such as a laptop or phone on their bed whilst it is charging as part of their work-from-home setup. This can also create a fire risk due to the potential of the item overheating. Electrical items should only ever be left on hard, non-flammable surfaces unless switched off and not charging.

Electrical Safety First’s tips on working safely from home: 

  • Don’t charge electrical items on beds. Always charge on a hard, flat, non-flammable surface. Avoid overloading sockets and extension leads, use Electrical Safety First’s online socket calculator to check
  • Keep your workstation tidy. Many may be working in a small workspace and it’s important to keep your hot and cold drinks away from electrical items.
  • Be mindful of cables, they can present a trip hazard to you and others in your home
  • 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.
  • Be mindful at lunchtime. With many of us cooking lunch at home for the time being it’s important not to get distracted by emails or work calls that may result in the hob being left on, unattended.