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Electrical Safety for Space Heaters in the Workplace

industrial heaters
The cold Pacific Northwest winter is in full swing, and temperatures will continue to remain cold for the foreseeable future. If your commercial heating system is not keeping up with demand and it’s struggling to keep you and your employees warm enough, space heaters can help pick up the slack. However, these products come with risks of fire or often have electrical malfunctions.

In residential homes alone, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 25,000 fires and 300 deaths occur yearly because of space heaters. With this kind of data related to just homes, consider the additional importance of protecting your employees and your commercial assets. Using space heaters properly is critical. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind.

#1: Do not plug them into a power strip.

power strip

Space heaters should always be plugged directly into a wall outlet, not a power strip. Also keep in mind, if you have other electrical devices plugged into the same wall outlet, you could overload it and risk fire or electrical damage. Due to the energy load and amount of extra electrical current that comes from the space heater, they should only be used on dedicated outlets. If you don’t have a dedicated outlet a for space heater in your commercial building, our team at Tapps Electric can add this for you to ensure your business is kept safe.

#2: Never leave a space heater on when you are not there.

Leaving a space heater unattended is a recipe for disaster – especially if you are not using a dedicated outlet. Space heaters are known to overheat or spark, which could cause a fire. So, if you plan on leaving your desk or workspace for an extended time, be sure to turn it off and unplug the heater.

#3: Do not use the heater if it is damaged.

If you notice that the space heater’s connections, plugs, or power cord are loose or frayed, do not use it. This could mean there is a problem with the electrical connection, which is extremely dangerous.

#4: Keep the space heater away from loose material.

Loose fabric, clothing, papers, or other flammable material should be kept far away from your space heater. Experts recommend that space heaters are kept at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire. In addition, make sure to keep the heater on a flat and level surface to safeguard it from falling, which could cause contact with flammable items.

As a business owner or manager, it is of supreme importance to keep your building and the people inside of it safe and secure. So, if your building has a heating system that is old and simply not up to the task of keeping everyone warm, consider replacing it. That way, your employees won’t have to depend on space heaters that may be unreliable or risky to use.

Not only can space heaters cause problems, but unfortunately, commercial buildings around the country experience fires due to faulty electrical systems. This translates to millions of dollars in property damage and deaths every year. Following through with all fire prevention strategies, as well as ensuring your electrical system is up to date and wired properly is key.

Tapps Electric takes pride in each commercial project we work on. We have the training, experience, and licensures you can trust to make sure your commercial building is operating as safely as possible. Contact us today for an electrical system inspection or replacement, or to learn more about adding dedicated outlets around your building. We look forward to helping you with all your company’s electrical needs.