According ESFI, overloaded electrical circuits pose both an electrocution and fire hazard. While the number of outlets in offices often is a factor that is out of employers' – and employees' – control, ESFI recommends these steps to stay safe from electrical hazards:
- If you must use a power strip, use a name-brand product from a reputable retailer. Low-quality or counterfeit power strips may contain wiring that isn't adequate to carry the load.
- Place power strips where there is plenty of air circulation to disperse heat.
- Do not attempt to plug grounded (three-prong) cords into ungrounded (two-slot) outlets.
- Do not bind, kink or knot electrical cords.
- Never run power cords under rugs or where chairs can roll over them.
- Keep cords close to a wall to avoid trip hazards.
- Keep all non-critical electrical items unplugged until you need to use them.
- Consider charging battery-operated devices in another area.
- If your computer screen flickers or fades, or you detect a burning smell, power down and immediately contact the building engineer.
- If you work from home, have a licensed electrician conduct an electrical inspection.
For additional electrical safety information, visit the foundation's Web site or call (703) 841-3229.