Cable management: tips for safe handling of cables
Whether in an office or warehouse, you will often find a tangle of cables strewn on the floor. Power cables, data cables and the cables bunched inside cable routers are all essential for supplying power to your office. However, these can also be dangerous, especially if you leave them dangling under or between desks. With good cable management, you can ensure your employees and devices are kept safe. Below you will learn of the benefits of good cable management, while also uncovering some useful tips and tricks along the way.
What is cable management?
The term 'cable management' refers to the safe organisation and clearing up of cables within the workplace. For example, you may look to divert, mark, bundle or hide them under a desk.
In doing so, you will be protecting not only your employees, but also your expensive equipment.
From late 2024: universal chargers
The European Parliament is already attempting to reduce 'cable chaos' by introducing a universal charger, expected for late 2024.
As a result, all new smartphones and other small electronic devices will be required to have a USB-C connector.
Why is cable management so important?
You can avoid accidents resulting from ‘cable spaghetti’
When all your cables get mixed up and become hopelessly tangled together, we call this
'cable spaghetti'. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is a lot less appetising than it sounds,
as this tangle of cables carries all kinds of risks.
For instance, it is easy to get caught up in cable spaghetti, resulting in a potential tripping accident. Not only can this hurt, but it can also damage the cable and pull other cables along with it – or worse, the device itself. And if you forget to plug a disconnected cable back into its device, you may run the risk of creating a fire hazard.
It makes your workplace more efficient
When you accidentally unplug a cable as a result of cable spaghetti, there is often only one thing you can do: crawl under the desk and look for the right connector. That takes up (too much) time. You may not find the correct one right away, and you will probably have to reboot the device after reconnecting. Does the cable in question affect a central device also connected to your colleagues' computers? Then they may also have to pause their work while everything gets reconnected. Quite inefficient and highly stressful, too.
A well-organised cable management system makes it less easy to unplug unsuspecting cables. And even if it does happen, it will be easier to find or swiftly replace the cable in question.
Cable management is good for your back
More and more employers are investing in creating an ergonomic working environment.
Office chairs with proper lumbar support, raised monitors and displays, mouse pads with added wrist support, etc. These all serve to provide a comfortable, healthy posture while going about your everyday tasks.
Cable management also falls within this recent trend. By bundling cables neatly on or under your desk (see below), you will no longer find yourself having to bend down to get that pesky cable back in place. And your back will thank you for it.
It’s easy on the eyes
The main purpose of cable management is, of course, safety. But this also comes with an aesthetic bonus because well-organised cables always look a lot more tidy. And this can have a big impact. Employees like to work in clean, tidy working environments, where they do not have to avoid bundles of tangled cables. Cable management therefore creates peace and order, which also contributes to mental well-being within the workplace.
What’s more, cable management leaves a positive impression on visitors such as clients, partners, even job applicants, who will be left with a positive impression of a well-organised and safe working environment. It will even be well-received by your cleaning staff, who will no longer have their work hindered by those pesky cables.
Prevention: how to prevent cable-related accidents
The risks of loose cables go beyond tripping hazards: they can increase risks of fire,
power cuts and back injuries, among others. Cable management helps mitigate these risks.
But where do you start?
Here are some practical tips::
- Tip 1: Avoid having wires and cables on the floor
Loose cables on the floor can come into contact with a lot of unsuspecting footwear, as well as more dangerous objects such as office chair wheels and wet mops from the cleaning crew.
To avoid this, try routing your cables through walls or cable ducts under the desk. If it is not possible to avoid the floor, mark the bundled cables using brightly coloured stickers or tape.
- Tip 2: Choose the shortest distance
Manufacturers of electronic business equipment like to provide extremely long cables, allowing employers to use them in large office spaces. If possible, replace such cables with shorter ones to reduce the likelihood of creating a tripping hazard. For this, you may want to seek the help of a specialised dealer, thereby ensuring you are opting for a safe alternative.
- Tip 3: Be careful with multi plug adapters
While multi plug adapters may come in very handy, be sure to keep in mind certain safety regulations:
- Ideally, choose only multi plug adapters equipped with surge and lightning protection.
- Never connect one multi plug adapter to another (use an extension lead instead).
- Do not use multi plug adapters for multiple devices with high power consumption.
- Tip 4: Invest in accessories
Cable trays, binders, self-adhesive clamps, cable boxes and holders – these days there are countless solutions to help with cable management. They are both safe for your employees and good for the cable itself, as they help avoid bending, damage and breakage of cables.
Bonus tip: do not use domino wall plug adaptors
Domino wall plug adaptors are an old-fashioned type of three-way plugs. In the past,
you could use them to connect multiple devices, especially in rooms where there were few wall sockets. However, this pile-up of connections also posed a huge risk of overloads, short circuits and fire.
Retailers in Belgium and the Netherlands are no longer permitted to sell them.
Do not use these as a solution for your own cable management.
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