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14. Electrical Safety

Do not assume that it is safe to touch anything in any area which may normally be charged with electricty just because power has failed in another area. There are three distinct electrical supplies to each building (so called `three phase' power) and one phase may be live even if both of the others are not. Different areas of buildings are served by different supplies running from a single phase. These supplies are induvidually protected with overcurrent trips and other devices. If a trip is open on one supply the other supplies may still be dangerous.

Under the wrong circumstances, even thirty-two Volts can kill.

14.1 Power Failures

These should be reported to your manager.

In the event of a power cut, computer power is provided for at least 30 minutes from uniterruptible power supplies. The uninterruptible power supplies and the computers which they feed must not normally be switched off without following the proper system shutdown procedures as detailed in the Quality Manual. Terminals and consoles may be switched off at any time without risk to information.

LOSS OF INFORMATION IS OF NO IMPORTANCE COMPARED TO SAFETY OF LIFE.

IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY INVOLVING ELECTRICITY SUPPLIED BY AN UNINTERRUPTIBLE POWER SUPPLY ITS OUTPUT MUST BE SWITCHED OFF WITHOUT DELAY AND BEFORE ANY ATTEMPT IS MADE TO TAKE OTHER EMERGENCY ACTION.

This is because the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) continues to give a dangerous electrical output even in the absence of power from the grid. A person in contact with electrical power from this source will not be protected by Residual Current Devices (RCDs) because these only switch off the incoming power. If you must attempt to rescue an individual who is at risk from this power source, first try to switch off the output from the UPS. If this is not possible within a short time, make sure that you do not become another casualty. Use any insulating item such as an article of dry clothing or a piece of wood or plastic to avoid risk of electrical shock to yourself.

14.2 Electrical Equipment

Power cords (cables) are usually the parts most vulnerable to damage. Ensure that they are in good condition. They must be secured clear of traffic etc. The correct type and rating of fuse must always be used. If in doubt consult your manager and always draw attention to any damage or fault.

A suspicion reported may be a fire prevented may be YOUR LIFE saved.

Do not overload electrical sockets. Do not obstruct them, they should be in clear view so that any imminent danger (damage, excess heat) is immediately visible.

Almost all electrical equipment generates sufficient heat to become a hazard if not adequately ventilated. Some items such as photocopiers and fax machines heat internal parts which can be exposed during the changing of toner cartridges etc. Take care not to be burnt.

Do not leave electrical heaters switched on unattended. Ensure that there is no fire risk from an overheating appliance nor from combustible materials in the vicinity. Do not impede the heat flow from any heating appliance because this may cause damage to the appliance or even a fire.

Warehouse space heaters have air INTAKES as well as outlets. Do not obstruct either and do not allow them to collect debris. Heat may damage goods to the point where the goods themselves are unsafe to use. Do not store goods near to heaters or where they may be affected by heat.

Ensure adequate ventilation when using photocopiers, fax machines, laser printers etc. Use an extractor fan where possible.


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