Cold weather brings obvious risks to those who work outdoors. Less obvious: Cold indoor temperatures that cause employees to use space heaters.
Chief among the risks: a major fire hazard. If your workplace allows space heaters, follow these precautions.
- Use of a space heater must be approved by . Best bet: Only allow company-provided heaters, so you can be sure the heater has proper safety features (e.g., tip-over switch), has all of its parts, and is in good working condition.
- Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use extension cords or power strips because of the risk of overheating.
- Keep heaters away from combustible materials (minimum of three feet), including stacks of paper, clothing, and trash cans.
- Position space heaters on the floor. Never place portable heaters on tables, chairs, steps, or other locations where they are likely to be knocked over.
- Turn off heaters when not in use. Never leave a space heater unattended, especially when leaving for the day.