View Full Version : Cable Covers-v-common Sense

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27-08-2011, 09:01 AM

Do you know the difference or understand the implications of choosing the wrong product and are they replacing good old fashioned common sense?

Cable Covers are a Trip Prevention product, or personal safety product in that they are designed to reduce or at the very least, control any risk of personal injury due to a potential trip hazard. Unfortunately there is currently no Australian Standard for the design of cable covers, however, it’s generally considered that anything over 7mm constitutes a trip hazard so this could be a good starting point.

Cable Protectors are an Electrical Safety product in that they are designed to protect cords and cables from damage. There are a number of Australian Standards for the design and construction of cable protectors but given the purpose for which they’ve been designed, are generally quite bulky and have the potential to discriminate against the elderly or disabled. Used incorrectly they are often more of a trip hazard than the cords or cables themselves.

Before you use or purchase either of these products you need to first ask yourself, does the cord actually need to be there. The easiest and most common sense way to address what seems to be a universal issue, trailing cords and cables, is to remove them. Redesign your setup, use wireless devices, and if you need to use cable covers/ protectors, minimize their use. Cable covers and protectors should be a last resort, not the first choice. I’ve actually had someone tell me that they use a chair to stop people tripping over cords and cables, “never seen anyone trip over a chair” he said, and it was a good point.

The next question should be, what is the paramount consideration, protecting cords and cables or protecting people from injury? If it’s protecting cords and cables then make sure your product is highly visible and positioned so as not to discriminate against the elderly or disabled and isn’t a trip hazard in it’s self. Cable protection is rarely if ever required indoors but unfortunately the convenience of some of the popular black rubber or plastic cable protectors often outweighs the risk they can present. Unless you’ve got vehicles driving around your meeting or boardrooms (and if you have you’ve got bigger problems than cable protection) there is absolutely no need to use Cable Protectors.

If protecting people from the risk of injury is the paramount consideration (and to my way of thinking should always be) then you need to minimize peoples exposure to the risk. Remove the cords and cables or redesign your setup and choose the “safest” route for your cords, not just the “shortest”. Minimize the need for the use of cable covers by running your cords around the perimeter of the room (i’ve never seen anyone trip over a wall) and only use Cable Covers where a cord or cable presents a trip hazard. Make sure the Cable Cover you choose is designed for the purpose for which it’s being used, a Trip Prevention product, under 7mm high and highly visible. If possible choose a product that’s been independently risk assessed.