Everyone knows that everyday wear and tear can cause damage to electrical items in the workplace. Fixed and PAT testing by companies such as Intersafe ;regularly ;finds faults created by people forcing appliances into sockets or twisting them as they unplug them.
But this month Intersafe is warning facilities managers and company directors about a far less frequently thought-of hazard to workplace electrics...animals.
Mice, rats, wasps and other small creatures can burrow behind electrical sockets and other fittings causing a flurry of fails on a company's electrical test results or even a short on the electrical system, warns Intersafe Director Adrian Pendle.
"Recently, some wasps found their way into the back of a socket outlet, then expired and dried out, which created a source of fuel for any spark that may have been generated by a loose connection," he said."Mice have been known to nest in the warm and dry cavities next to the electrical wiring - creating a potential fire hazard ;and rats can cause havoc if they gnaw through the wiring."
Adrian warns that inanimate objects, such as books and box files, can also cause a fire if left carelessly on top of an electrical heat source, for example, a light fitting.
"Be vigilant at all times, look out for any loose openings around electrical sockets or telltale signs such as animal droppings or flying insects swarming into a crack or a hole in a wall," he suggested. "If you suspect you have unwelcome visitors of the animal variety in your workplace call pest control immediately - they can damage a lot more than carpets!"