A universal cause for annoyance for anyone who has ever used an electrical device are the power cords. They are present in everything: household appliances like refrigerators and microwaves, construction tools like drillers and circular saws, and all electronic devices at a workplace, namely computers, printers, and laptops. At any given workplace, power cords can be the bane of its existence, as there are numerous for different purposes, are always strewn about, and forever present a tripping hazard.
If one is to maintain the sanity of the workplace, they must go through the given eight points for keeping power cords up to date at the workplace.
1. Storage of Cords When Not in Use
As witnessed in every workplace that uses computers, power cords can be found hanging everywhere; walls and floors are covered in jumbles of cords. If one trips over these, they risk yanking them out either from the device or the socket, causing damage to both. To avoid this, we have to get in the habit of putting them away properly when not in use. We must wrap them up securely and in a way which does not fray the length or ends of the cords. Wrapping it around the elbow and then tying it is one way. But this may lead to damage. The best solution is to get a cord reel. These simple mechanical devices are easily available in the market and are the most efficient way to store power cords when not in use.
2. Invest in Wire Clips
When in use, power cords are an ungainly sight at a workstation, or even under it. If they lie on top of the table, then they take up a lot of space; there’s just the computer, and three different cords on the table, and space for nothing else. You would be lucky to rest an elbow there. One can invest in a little device called the wire clip which will keep the unruly cables fixed to a surface. You can thus attach your cables to one side of the desk, or a leg of the table, and some wire clips even allow you to fix the cables on a wall. This keeps the wires out of sight, tangle-free and magically creates space on your desk for a pen stand, and your elbow.
3. Your Work Environment Matters
For an efficient and damage-free workplace, one must maintain the equipment, especially the things that can easily snap and cause more harm. Your work environment is something you can control, taking into consideration whether you work in direct sunlight or not, whether the desks, chairs and such, if heavy, are not lying on the power cords or not. Both of these may seem like minor points, but the consequences, if they are not taken seriously, can be severe. Power cords themselves tend to run a little hot because of the electricity passing through them, so it’s best not to keep them around heat sources so more heat is not added to them. Exposure to more heat may lead to overheating, and sometimes even an electrical fire. Another thing one must be aware of is that no heavy furniture is resting on the cords. Prolonged weight may crush the insulation, or snap the wire entirely.
4. Do Not Use Power Cords in High Foot Traffic Area
Statistics show that 20% of workplace accidents are due to power cords. People may trip and fall, causing them to fling that mug of coffee at a computer and thus frying that. It is best to avoid keeping the cords in an area where a lot of people are walking by. Cord reels and wire clips take care of half the problem as they can, essentially, gather the cables at one place, preferably away from people’s feet. Some may also wish to cover the cords with a carpet, but that also ultimately leads to damage as the cords are not given the space to let out the extra heat they generate. Also, being trampled on by hundreds of feet all day long is not ideal for anything; they may fray or bend.
5. Labeling Always Helps
While labels in social context are tricky, in a workplace, they are remarkably beneficial. With the massive jumble of the same black wires everywhere, its easy to get lost in the land of cables. You may be trying to connect your laptop to one device and end up connecting to something else entirely, slowing down your work while you hunt for the correct wire. One can make little labels, or even use sticky notes, and attach it to both ends of a wire to know which end goes where. For example, you can make labels which say “nema 5-15p to nema 5-15r”, one end of which goes into the wall socket, and the other goes into the central adapter, which then connects to your laptop. This is found in most laptops. Or NEMA 5-15P to 3 NEMA 5-15R, which has a similar function. Labeling each end of your product ultimately saves you time and effort.
6. If Possible, Shorten Them
Most confusion and clutters stem from the fact that cables are usually very long. This is good when one wants to sit back and work in a relaxed setting. But it just causes problems in a proper work setting. What we can do is try to shorten the length of the cable. For instance, if the cable is two feet long, then we may measure however much we wish to keep, allowing for some slack, and then tie up the rest of it and tuck it away out of hand. As and when needed, we can shorten and extend the length. We can use decorative tie ups, or just ones that are purely functional.
7. Set up Power Strips
Another thing one can do is set up power strips, or extension boards. They give you more plug points, and some smart ones have the added advantage of being surge protectors. Some good ones in the market can be hung on a small nail anywhere, be it a wall or the side of, or underneath a desk. If not equipped with hanging tools, you can securely stick them to certain surfaces using double sided tape, or velcro strips. The good quality power strips can double as surge protectors. A surge protector is a device that protects your electrical device from sudden spikes in the alternating current (AC). If not for these, a random jump in the AC can damage your device beyond repair. One can use a multipurpose outlet saver power cord splitter to protect their device.
8. Remove the Slack
Long wires are the cause of a lot of disgruntled workforce. Dealing with meters upon meters of wires is no fun trip, especially if you have to do it everyday. The best way around this is to get some sturdy, functional cable ties and round up the slack that remains after you have adjusted the length of the wires you actually require. This makes your workplace look more organized.
These were the eight tips for you to keep your power cords up to date at your workplace, lessen the tripping hazards, and make your workplace look more organized and professional.