Offices can often become extremely cold during winter months and it is common for employees to have no access to controlling temperatures that are often preset by building managers. That is why portable space heaters are often the solution for keeping warm during the cold season.
While space heaters can be extremely convenient and effective for keeping warm, they also prove to be a workplace safety hazard. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, some space heaters do not have built in safety features and can cause fires when placed near combustible materials or when they are not plugged in properly.
Space heaters are responsible for approximately 55,000 fires, 450 fatalities, and more than 1,500 injuries annually. However, aside from causing fires, they also contribute to accidents and injuries in several other ways including:
- Electrical shock
- Power failure
Recommended Safety Guidelines
They recommend that if an employer does not have an outright ban on space heaters, that it implements safety guidelines for using them. Such recommendations include:
- Avoiding the use of extension cords or power strips, which are more likely to overheat, and start a fire. Instead, it is better to plug space heaters directly into the wall.
- Ensuring that the space heaters are certified by an independent testing laboratory.
- Keeping heaters away from doorways and other highly trafficked areas, where they can cause employees to trip.
- Never leaving them unattended while they are on and unplugging them at the end of each day.
- Positioning heaters at least three feet away from any flammable materials, such as clothing, rugs, and papers.
- Requiring employees to obtain approval from a manager or supervisor.
Other Safety Tips include:
- Avoid leaving young children and pets alone in a room with the space heater.
- Avoid running several appliances at once if you are using a space heater to avoid a circuit overload.
- Avoid the use of space heaters in rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens, where spills and moisture are more likely.
- Buying a space heater that has a guard around the heating elements.
- Checking heaters regularly for frayed wires and any dust that has accumulated.
- Choosing a space heater that has been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
- Installing a carbon monoxide poisoning alarm and ensuring that batteries are new and working.
- Purchasing a new space heater once new safety features have been added.
Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Injured Workers
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a space heater, the Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation lawyers at DiTomaso Law can help. We will fight for you to obtain the compensation you deserve, so you can focus on your recovery. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us today at 856-414-0010 or contact us online. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout the state.