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Health And Safety Tips For Offices: Cabling
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Cables. Forming dense thickets in the corners of every living room and snaking under every desk in every office, they hang above our heads on pylons and run beneath the roads under our feet.

Along with plastic bags, blobs of chewing gum, billboards and cigarette butts, cables are such a ubiquitous feature of modern life that many of us don’t really see them any more. Until we trip over them of course.

As modern society comes to depend ever more on technology and our lives become filled with increasing amounts of cables, everyone will have to start paying more attention to where they are stepping. This problem is especially acute in offices, where a large amount of health and safety related energy has already gone into trying to solve the problem of cabling.

While wireless communication between computer devices is increasingly easy and efficient for personal use, cables are necessary for reliability and speed on the level that most businesses require.

Why does anyone care about cables in offices?

There are two main reasons why every office space should have a safe and sensible solution to what they do with the cables they depend on.

Firstly, according to the UK Health and Safety Executive in the financial year 2011/12 slips, trips and falls were the most common cause of injuries to employees and caused around 1.3 million working days being lost. Under UK legislation, employers are legally obliged to provide their employees with the safest working environment possible, so are directly liable for any injuries caused by the unsafe storage of cables.

Secondly, unorganised and trailing cables are much more likely to be pulled out accidentally, and this can bring a whole host of problems. Imagine all your data being wiped out simply because someone tripped over a storage cable!

So, how do you ensure that your office cabling is both organised and reflective of the highest standards of health and safety?

Office cabling health and safety

There is really not a lot to the modern art of cable management, you won’t need to spend a lot of money but you will need some common-sense and a good dollop of organisation. It’s always good to try and tackle your cables sooner rather than later and ideally you should try and take care of your cable management needs in the initial office set-up process.

There are a number of preliminary steps to take:

•You should buy yourself some cheap labels and then take the time to label each cable as well as the corresponding plug socket or port that the cable corresponds to, making sure to label both ends of the cable. This will not only help you in the organisation element of tackling the cable jungle but should make it easier for you to trouble shoot and problem fix without having to yell for your IT guys every time that a cable gets disconnected.

• Once the labelling is completed you should take cables that are practically connected, such as computer and phone cords, and entwine them together to form a “cable snake.” You can either do this by gathering them together and covering them in split wire loom or simply wrap them together in a double-helix style fashion.

• If you find that your cables are too long, then you may want to gather them up and tape or clip the excess to the undersides of desks.

Once you have taken these preliminary steps into account then you should start thinking about purchasing a few products that may help you eliminate trailing cables completely from your office:

• Structured cabling products are a great idea if you have a serious amount of wires that you have to incorporate into some kind of system.

• Drop cable covers are black rubber covers that you can place over your cables in important areas of the office such as across corridors and they are useful for turning trailing cables into gentle speed bumps.

• There are also a whole host of cable managers and cable raceways that can be used allowing you to organise all your cables while not having to compromise on office layout.

• If you're looking for a complete network solution, as opposed to just cabling, a professional installation from a recognised provider (like HP, for instance) will probably cover a lot of this as standard.

Efficient and safe cable management is an essential part of all modern offices that depend on technology for their day to day operations, not only to try and minimise accidents but also because having your cables efficiently managed and labelled can speed up the process of trouble-shooting or rearranging your office.

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