A hazard is a situation that poses a level of threat to life, health, property, or environment. Truth be told, you would be surprised to know the amount of serious hazards that exist camouflaged in our homes and workplace, where we spend most amount of our lives!
Some such hazards are not so hard to spot and fix, we still let them sit there though, don’t we? Let’s admit it, we all know what I am talking about, water spills on the floor, wires laid out in pathways, over loaded cable extensions, damaged and exposed cables, over cluttered aisles, we have all seen them and we have all ignored them.
No matter where you are, at home or the office, there is always room for improvement when it comes to hazards. Like I said in my last post, we usually ignore them because as long as they are not harming us or those close to us, why bother? So unless you have a special connection with the big guy above who will let you know when a disaster is coming your way, I suggest, same as last post, to speak up and fix a problem before it turns serious and bites you in the rear!
The reason why this minor ignorance could turn fatal is that a) it could start a number of possible disasters such as fires, shocks and traumatic injuries OR b) if there is ever a disaster that requires everyone to act fast and run for cover, those sharp corners, water spills on the floors, damaged or ungrounded cables, over cluttered aisles could slow you down or lessen your chances of survival; and thus prove to be life threatening.
Such is the case with almost all common hazards found in most homes and offices, so let’s identify them and fix the problems while we can.
Hazard # 1 – Exposed Cords
Something that I never saw before moving back to Pakistan is electricians cutting out damaged cord parts and joining them with a working piece, without properly covering the exposed area(s) first with the cord skin.
Even though most electricians will swear that this is perfectly safe practice, have the guy run to an electronic market, buy a pack of ‘cord skin’ for a mere Rs. 100 (prices may vary) and solder it on the cord’s exposed parts. If you are like me and live in a humid region, an exposed cord could take humidity and short out, igniting a fire or shock, both can be lethal and go very wrong for you, your family or staff.
This, in my opinion is still not a 100% hazard proof – if you really want to eliminate this hazard, have the cord completely removed and replaced with a solid, working one with no exposed or damaged parts to worry about.
Hazard # 2 – Grounding
Have you seen those three prong plugs that have recently started coming out with every other electrical appliance we get from the stores? Aren’t they so annoying?
Why? Because most wall outlets have two prong intakes so we have to make that extra effort to drive back to the store and get a converter plug!
That third (annoying) prong is there to provide that much needed ground for our safety. By grounding an electrical system, a low-resistance path to earth through a ground connection is intentionally created. When properly done, this path offers sufficiently low resistance and has sufficient current-carrying capacity to prevent the build-up of hazardous voltages.
In other words, please do not let your electrician (driver in my case) or anyone else for that matter remove that third prong because while the appliance will still work and you won’t have to make that extra drive, it is very dangerous to you, your family and/or staff.
Remember, you are responsible for your own safety as well as those under your care, may that be your children, your senior and in some cases disabled elders or staff at the office.
Before you throw all this out of the rear window, do a walk through of your home or office, make a list of electrical hazards that you spot and consider contacting someone to help you fix them – it will only make things better!
Part II of this post will be coming in about a week, subscribe via email or grab the rss feed to stay posted!
Stay safe – Stay PREPARED!
Founder | Chief Consultant
AfterShock – CEM (Crisis & Emergency Management)
Five Common Hazards found in Most Homes & OfficeAnd How To Eliminate Them – Part II