Christmas is a wonderful time for bright lights, plenty of tinsel and the odd present or two. Whether your workplace is preparing for the festive season or you’re setting up the home for Santa’s arrival on Christmas Day, one thing you need to be aware of is safety, particularly when it comes to those all-important electrics.
Think Electrical Safety this Christmas – Christmas Lights
Most offices will make some effort to brighten up the decor with a Christmas tree and some lights. Often these items are packed away in a cupboard somewhere for most of the year and then rolled out as December comes around.
One thing you need to check, is that the fairy lights are working properly and are fit for purpose. Christmas lights are sometimes forgotten when the PAT Test rolls around. You should make the effort to ensure they are fully functional. Check the plug and see if the wiring is intact. Fairy light connections can often be flimsy and come loose. Next switch on and test to see if all the lights are flashing. Bulbs can be replaced if some aren’t working.
For those who’ve had their Christmas lights for a while, whether you’re at home or in the office, it’s a generally a sensible idea to buy a new set. They don’t cost too much nowadays and they’re safer than older lights. Better still the preferred option within a business is low voltage, LED lighting strings on 12v power supplies.
Many businesses will look to install lights for the outside and there are plenty of options to choose from. Especially for shops and bars and restaurants, this can look spectacular at night and really get people in the festive spirit. Once again, you need to check those lights carefully and make sure they are suitable for outside use generally IP44 rated.
Don’t be tempted to use lights that are intended for indoors and pay special attention to the connection when you are setting up. It’s worth getting this done professionally if you’re creating an impressive light display for your business.
You should certainly steer well clear of using an ordinary extension lead which can be subject to the vagaries of the weather. Don’t be tempted to wrap your extension in plastic or a bag either. It won’t make things safe. Connect everything inside via a 30mA RCD protected socket.
One of the biggest causes of fire at Christmas time comes from overloading sockets. Yes, you want everything to be bright and exciting, but plugging too many things into one outlet can be extremely dangerous.
If you do have more plugs than usual, invest in a high quality, surge protected, multiway bar extension as opposed to a block one as these are much safer. Only use one extension per socket. It’s better to reduce your lighting and stay safe rather than over stack the socket and create the potential for a fire.
Decorations and Electric Lights
Especially if you are decorating the workplace, you need to make sure that you choose fireproof decorations. You should also not attach these to existing light fittings or put them anywhere near equipment like heaters.
When you’re heading out to buy decorations, try to steer away from cheap options. Not only are these a false economy, they can also be dangerous depending on where they were made. Always buy from a reputable supplier and be prepared to spend a little more if you want to stay safe over the Yuletide period.
Switching Lights Off
Finally, however brilliant they look, you should always switch lights off when you close the office or your business for the evening. The same goes for when you head off to bed for the evening at home.
If you have any concerns regarding your festive illuminations, then give us a call on 0330 6600264 or email [email protected]
Until next time, stay safe!