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Saturday, 7 December

The Bad and the Ugly - Making Good on Cable Spaghetti

Offices up and down the country are seeing changes as employers seek to increase workplace productivity, reduce costs and respond to requests for varied working environments.

Technology is a key part of this and the number of cables in offices seems to be ever increasing. However, when desks and equipment need to be moved, little consideration is given to data and power. Desks move but not floor boxes and a spaghetti of cabling results.

The cable spaghetti looks untidy and doesn’t support the expectations of a professional, clean and tidy office, but there are much more serious implications.

Poorly located cables can be a trip hazard, and with slipping or tripping the most common cause of major injury in UK workplaces1, this is a hazard that needs to be removed to ensure compliance with the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Poorly located electrical cables are often run over by chairs, or walked across by employees, resulting in damage to the wires that can cause a fire. Fires in the workplace can have devastating impact on a business so minimising damage and regular inspection of cabling is critical.

Damaged cables can also affect network speed and prevent computers connecting at all. Frustrated employees result, who waste time trying to resolve the issue, reducing their efficiency. When equipment needs to be replaced, searching through a jumble of cables makes the task much slower, and unpleasant due to the trapped dirt. The dust and dirt is also a potential ignitor for the sparks that can arise from damaged cables.

 

Desk Cable Management

ACCL, experts in data and communications cabling, can help. The company has launched a Desk Cable Management service to tidy all cables from floor boxes and perimeter sockets right through and under desks, to remove the potential for trips; prevent cable damage; remove fire hazards; and create the tidiness that may act as a spur to bring your workplace back up to a positive standard.

MD, Wayne Connors said: "Cable clutter and its associated hazards is a problem in offices ranging from small to medium sized enterprises right the way through to major corporations. It has come about because of the huge increases in technology and associated power and network connections, combined with work station moves. The ideal would be that whenever workstations are reconfigured, the power sockets and floor boxes are reconfigured to suit. This often doesn't happen because it is time consuming and disruptive.

"ACCL can reconfigure the floor boxes because as a structured cabling specialist, we do complete fit-out and refurbishment of some of the most complicated projects in the UK. But we have also introduced our cable tidying/management service, which is a lower cost option to bring workplaces back up to an effective safety level, whilst also improving the effectiveness of the workplace.”

Not only do ACCL inspect all cables as part of the tidying exercise, the company also looks at the sockets, especially those currently carrying under-desk power to ensure double-sockets and extension leads (and indeed fan heaters) that have been introduced by users are eliminated. A check will be carried out for any heat damage. Where new desk power units are introduced, they all comply to the appropriate standard BS6396:2008 and are sourced from trusted suppliers.

All under desk cable management projects are planned to cause minimal disruption, which often means that they are often carried out during evenings or at weekends. Once the project is complete, ACCL advises that a protocol is established so that no-one apart from the FM or IT teams can plug-in new equipment.

Picture: Desk cables before and after

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

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