With the cold weather fast approaching, you may need a little extra heating power in your workplace. Central heating isn't always adequate. Fortunately, there are space heaters you can use. Space heaters are small portable devices that emit heat into the surrounding space. While effective at creating a warmer and more comfortable environment, though, space heaters pose a fire risk. You can still use them in your workplace this winter, but consider the five following safety tips to protect against fire and injury.
#1) Maintain 3 Feet of Clearance
A good rule of thumb to follow when using space heaters is to maintain 3 feet of clearance in all directions. In other words, no objects or surfaces -- aside from the floor -- should be within 3 feet of the space heater. Space heaters produce a lot of heat. After all, that's the purpose for which they are designed. If you place a space heater too close to something, it could cause a fire.
#2) Don't Use Propane Indoors
There are different types of space heaters. While some of them are powered by electricity, others are powered by propane. If you have a propane space heater, don't use it indoors. Propane space heaters should only be used in open and well-ventilated areas. When used in an enclosed space, propane space heaters can cause a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.
#3) Secure the Plug
Assuming you have an electrical space heater, you can use it indoors. With that said, you should secure the plug into the outlet. If the plug isn't secure, part of all of the metal prongs will be exposed. These prongs carry electricity, so anything that touches them will become electrified. If a piece of lint or debris fals onto the exposed prongs, it could ignite. This is why you should always secure space heater plugs into the outlets.
#4) Stabilize It
Another safety tip to follow when using a space heater in the workplace is to stabilize it. Space heaters can cause a fire if they fall over. To prevent this from happening, you should place them on a flat and stable surface.
#5) Check Cords
Try to get into the habit of checking your space heaters' cords on a regular basis. Cords can fail. You may be able to turn on and use a space heater, but if the cord is bad, it poses a fire risk. Space heaters have electric cords that are similar to other electric devices. They contain a conductive core that's wrapped in plastic shielding. If a cord is bad, the plastic exterior may show signs of melting. Avoid using any space heaters that have a bad cord.