Posted by Melissa Hall in #YHSafetyTips, Nov 28, 2018
As it gets colder, you may be trying to find a way to stay warm when working at your home or office. Some might be considering investing in a portable space heater for use at your desk or individual workspace. Before purchasing a space heater, it is important to understand the risks involved with improper use.
Facts About Space Heaters
Space heaters are defined as self-contained appliances, usually powered by electric, designed to heat a single, small area. In addition to electric, space heaters may also be powered by natural gas, propane, or wood pellets. Space heaters can be stationary or portable units. Portable space heaters are usually electric, allowing them to easily be transported from one location to another.
According to a 2018 report from the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is the second-leading cause of U.S. home fires, and the third-leading cause of home fire deaths. Between 2011 and 2015, portable and stationary space heaters accounted for more than 43 percent of U.S. home heating fires and 85 percent of home heating fire deaths.
Home heating fires occur most often during the winter months including December, January, and February.
The majority of space heater fires occur when combustible items such as paper, clothing, or curtains are placed too close to the heater causing them to catch on fire. Portable electric space heaters have a higher risk of fire than fixed electric heating devices.
Requirements for Space Heaters
If you wish to use a space heater in your office, you should check with your supervisor before use as some employers may regulate the use of space heaters. If you receive approval to use a space heater in your office, you should always turn off your space heater anytime you leave your workspace – Space heaters should never be left on while unattended.
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