Dated office buildings were not designed to deal with the level of electrical equipment typically seen in modern offices, posing serious health concerns, according to fire officials.
Brad Wilson, from Triangle Fire Safety, said overloaded sockets are a common cause of fire, particularly in older buildings that rely on multiple socket rows.
In an article written by power module suppliers CMD, Mr Wilson was joined by leading safety consultants Chris Hassall, from uComply Risk Management, and John Greenfield, of Duke Health and Safety Management, in highlighting fears that many old office buildings lack the number of plug sockets needed for the range of modern electrical equipment used.
Older wiring is often rated for a lower amperage than is required in modern buildings – this can result in overloaded sockets.
Mr Wilson continued: “It is quite common to go into older premises and see a maze of trailing cables under desks. These will often be missed from annual tests due to the fact that they go unnoticed.”
Electrical fires are always a concern when it comes to old wiring and outdated electrical systems. Over time wiring deteriorates, and in some cases, previous tenants have made ad hoc modifications that can lead to greater safety risks.
Employees are often forced to rely on multiple extension leads to support their devices, the safety of which are not always monitored.
Bruce Cantrill, marketing manager at CMD, said: “Technology is changing daily and it’s important for offices to be able to support the electrical output needed and keep employees safe.”
Electrical hazards can go unnoticed in a busy office, often due to the fact that employees lack the training to correctly identify potential problems.
Many fire-safety issues often begin out of sight, with equipment such as heaters and tangled sockets rows typically found crammed under the desk.
Fake, faulty or equipment that is not PAT tested was also cited by safety officials as being a potential threat.
Mr Cantrill added: “There is a range of products available which ensure the safe use of extension cables and reduce the risk of overloading sockets including on desk, under-desk and wireless solutions.”
To learn more about the best way to avoid fires from flaring up in office buildings, read the full article here: Electrical Causes of Fires in Office Buildings
Image for illustration purposes. Picture from CMD.