To keep all electrical equipment safe to use in the workplace, we must remember to beware of the chargers! Here’s why…
We’re talking items like laptops, mobile phones and others which run off battery power. Outside of an office environment, this could also include power tools. These items do not fall under the remit of portable appliance testing. However, the lead and power adaptors for them do, and need to be tested. Laptop chargers in particular can often cause problems or be a concern.
The more portable, the more damage
Yes! Such is the portable nature of items like laptops, the chargers for them are susceptible to greater damage. Think about the start or end of the working day, and you are taking your laptop with you. What do you do? You often wrap the cable around itself, ready to put it in a bag to take it where you are going. It’s the regular wrapping of the cable which can lead to its damage.
And be careful when buying any replacement laptop chargers. Only buy replacements from reputable sources. Likewise, make sure the power pack is compatible with the device, and comes well packaged, with instructions.
Mobile phone chargers
The same goes for mobile phone chargers. When your staff bring a mobile phone charger to work each day, chances are they toss it into a bag. But more importantly, where is the actual phone charger, the bit that plugs into the socket, from? Smartphone charging plugs use either USB-A or USB-C ports. This means that if the original charger from the manufacturer has been misplaced, it’s pretty easy to pick up a replacement. The problem comes with the many chargers which are available to buy ‘at a good price’. From an electrical safety point of view, they might not be such a ‘good standard’.
The importance of visual inspections
There is no law preventing staff from bringing their own chargers into the workplace. So, businesses need to be mindful of the dangers they may pose. For this reason, we recommend staff are trained to recognise the dangers. They should periodically check such electrical equipment and know absolutely not to use it if there are signs of fault or damage. Visual inspections are something we can both advise on or help with. Let us know if you need to get started with visual electrical checks in your workplace.
Going back to what we mentioned before, and the source of electrical equipment. You need to be extra cautious if you are buying second-hand or refurbished items of equipment, which come with a power adaptor. For both laptops and mobile devices, there have been instances of counterfeit chargers on the market. If what you are buying sounds like too good a deal, there’s usually a reason why.
But, as we said before, check over a few things before you commit to buying. Make sure you are buying from a reputable source, and check feedback etc. Make sure what you are buying comes in good packaging, with instructions. If you are ever unsure about the safety of an adaptor, charger or power pack, it’s simple. Do not use it.
Have you battery-operated devices within your business which are charged on-site using a power adaptor or charger? For optimum electrical safety in the workplace, these should form part of your PAT testing programme. If you haven’t started PAT testing your electrical appliances and would like a quote to do so, get in touch. We can also discuss helping your staff carry out visual inspections of the electrical equipment they use frequently.