Power board safety advice
The practice of overloading power boards with many appliances (particularly large current devices,heaters, urns, portable air conditioners) and adding other power boards or adapters to increase capacity are undoubtedly the major cause of fire at the Home and in the Work Place.
- Plug in high power devices into power boards, ie Fan heaters, It is far safer to connect these appliances to a wall outlet
- connect double adaptors to power boards
- cascade a chain of power boards together, either double up your power outlet on the wall or get another outlet installed.
- use damaged power boards
- use power boards in wet areas such as Laundries and Bathrooms
- use power boards as a substitute for permanent power outlets
- use power boards in dirty or dusty areas use power boards with shutter covers in these areas.
- always ensure that plugs fit firmly in the power board sockets
- regularly check the power board for any signs of damage, cracking and discolouration
- keep power boards out of the reach of children and pets
- allow for adequate ventilation around the power board.
- make sure you have an RCD or safety switch protected circuit that is supplying the power board
- consider installing a permanent power outlet so you do not need to use a power board.
- Have your appliances and power boards regularly inspected, tested and tagged, particularly if you are a business, charity or public organisation with Workers/Volunteers/General public using Power boards and appliances.
Using extension cords safely
- always use an extension cord that has earth, active and neutral wires and a 3-pin plug – never use a 2 core flex (two wires only) as an extension cord.
- ensure that the cord is fully unwound so it doesn’t overheat
- join extension cords together. If you need an extension cord longer than 25 metres ask a licensed electrical contractor to install a general purpose power point.
- use extension cords in wet weather or where they could contact water. If your extension cord gets wet, switch it off, and discard it.
- place extension cords where they can be walked on or driven over. This may damage the cord and expose live wires. You can mount your extension cord on a fixture with a height of 2.5m (8ft) using tape or cable ties.
- overload extension cords. The maximum load on an extension cord should not exceed 2,300 watts (In Australia that is nominally 10amps at 230 volts supply). Check the labelling on the extension cord to see how many watts it is rated at. Also consider using extension cords are labelled Construction Grade in outdoor and potentially hostile environments.
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Peter Hill Manager , Tested & True ~ test & tag Adelaide December 2012