Space Heater Safety Tips that are Perfect for any Workplace

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Like many employers, you may balk at the idea of using space heaters in the workplace. You really shouldn’t, as space heaters can boost employee morale and reduce energy consumption. Also, with the following safety measures in place, you can significantly reduce the risk of fire.


#1. Assign an Inspector
Choose someone from your maintenance team to act as an unofficial fire inspector. This individual will be responsible for inspecting heaters prior to use, as well as performing routine inspections on any existing space heaters. Once you’ve chosen someone, make an official announcement in writing and post it on all your company bulletin boards. That way, employees will not be confused when that individual comes poking around.

#2. Choose the Right Heaters
The Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) sets rigid safety standards for heaters and other electrical appliances. Accordingly, all space heaters should conform with UL standards. You may even want to go a step further and require a built-in safety feature that will cause the heater to automatically shut off if it turns over.Workers who are bringing heaters in for the first time will report to the fire inspector. That individual will check the manufacturer’s label, power cord, and general condition of the equipment. He or she will then issue a sticker showing that the heater has passed the inspection. This will make it easy to see immediately which heaters conform to your guidelines and which ones do not.


#3. Enact Sensible Policies
Having the right policies in place will make your fire inspector’s duties a whole lot easier. Some standard operating procedures to implement include:

  • Ensuring that heaters are plugged directly into an electrical outlet rather than using an extension cord or surge protector.
  • Prohibiting drinks, which could be spilled and result in electrocution, near portable heaters.
  • Leaving at least 36 inches of clearance space all the way around each unit.
  • Seeing that flammable and hazardous materials are not stored near heaters.
  • Insisting that space heaters are not left unattended and that they are unplugged at the end of each shift.
#4. Install Safety Equipment
The right fire safety equipment is important, even when you are not using space heaters. However, they become even more essential when portable heating devices are being used. As such, you should check for working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, especially in areas where you’ll have a large number of heaters. Now is a great time to double-check the functioning of any sprinkler system, as well.



#5. Train your Workers
Even the most rigid safety precautions won’t guarantee you will never experience a fire. Make sure your associates are prepared by providing fire safety training that includes:

  • The proper use of fire extinguishers
  • Evacuation procedures, including where to meet afterwards
  • Safety and first aid protocol
  • The importance of not tampering with smoke detectors

As part of your training, include examples of signs that a space heater is malfunctioning. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Tripping breakers
  • Receiving a shock when plugging in or turning on the unit
  • Burning smells
  • Burn marks on surfaces where the heater is sitting
Practical Heating Solutions for Your New Jersey Business

There are times when space heaters in the workplace make perfect sense. However, the use of too many heaters could indicate that your HVAC system is not up to par. In that case, upgrading to a new unit might make more sense.

Not sure how your heating and cooling system is measuring up? Allow us to perform an analysis. We can show you potential areas of concern and provide you with an estimate of likely cost savings. Are you ready to get started? Contact South Jersey Heating and Cooling today to schedule your consultation.