How overloading your office circuits can be a fire risk

You might consider your biggest office risks to be an inadvertent email to the wrong client, or
messing up the team brew round, but easily overlooked is the humble plug socket.
With the vast majority of offices becoming more and more dependent on a plethora of
electrical items, an increasing frustration is the lack of enough sockets. It’s a common bug-
bear but also one that can cause serious issues, potentially even a fire risk. Here’s what you
need to know about electrical safety in your office.


Lead vs block
Plug extensions are handy tools when used correctly and they’re all the same, right? Well,
not quite. It’s actually safer to go for a bar extension lead over a block adapter because it
puts less strain on the wall socket.
Also, some block adapters don’t have a fuse, putting your appliances and office at an
increased risk of overloading and a subsequent fire.
Of course, electrical testing is a wise choice for all offices regardless of the type of
extension, but it’s best to make informed choices when it comes to safety.


One’s company, two’s a crowd
Another thing to watch out for is one extension lead plugged into another. This could also
become dangerous, so we always advise to keep it to one per socket.
Even with just one extension lead, you should make sure it’s not overloaded. It’s easy to
assume that because an extension lead offers four more sockets, you can just plug four
more things in. But, if you’re not careful you could be in for a shock – or even at risk of a fire.
Most leads are 13 Amp (some can be as little as 10 Amp). You’ll find the rating on a sticker
on the extension lead. The rating is a maximum, so you shouldn’t exceed that amount when
you combine the power rating of each of your plugged-in appliances or you could be at risk
of overloading. Just for context, a kettle alone is 13 amps when in use. Make sure your office
is adding up.


What should you do?
Whilst on a Sunday night some people might have nightmares about the office burning down, in reality it’s not a scenario anyone wants to happen. (Not least because of the potential harm to people, disruption to the workplace, and the financial implications for employers and
employees alike.) So to remain safe it’s best to watch out for warning signs like fuses repeatedly blowing or circuits tripping. Plus, regularly check all your office sockets and appliances to ensure they’ve been plugged appropriately, there’s no loose wires, the PAT testing is in date, and the plugs aren’t overly hot, which could be risk factors.


Overloading in the office is easily avoidable but if you think you have an issue or are
concerned your equipment hasn’t been tested recently contact our friendly team on 0845 021 3207

Contact Us

0845 021 3207
Croft Myl, West Parade, Halifax, HX1 2EQ
George Street, Edinburgh, West Lothian, EH2 3ES