Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY22 03 – Overheating Laptop Computers Lithium Ion Batteries – Fire Risk:
Overview, Background, Description, Issue and Effect:
Royal Mail Group’s Safety Team report that there have been a number of incidents reported where lap top batteries have overheated causing the potential for fire. Laptops can overheat, due to prolonged use, poor ventilation, faulty batteries etc. Batteries can overheat, warp and become damaged. Faulty laptop computers should be turned off and not used again if an issue is identified. To raise the profile of this problem, RMG SHE Safety Flash FY22 003 ‘Overheating Laptop Batteries’ has been issued. See a copy of the SHE Flash attached.
To help prevent a laptop battery from overheating, always make sure that there’s adequate airflow for the laptop.
- Keep laptop vents uncovered and remove objects that are too close to the laptop.
- Always position the laptop on a sturdy, flat surface like a desk or table. Not on soft surfaces where the vents can be obstructed, preventing air circulation.
- Clean the vents of any dust, dirt, or hair.
- Work in a cooler room.
- Don’t continue using a laptop with a faulty battery.
London Fire Brigade attends on average 24 fires each week that have been started by batteries, chargers or cables. The LFB also warn against the purchase and use of cheap counterfeit electrical chargers which can be deadly – many fail to meet UK safety regulations leading to fires and injury. What may seem like a bargain at the market isn’t worth the risk when you consider that it could lead to a fire and potential damage, destruction and at worst loss of life.
Each day before use, laptop computer users should check their laptop for any signs of the keyboard or casing becoming warped or domed, the seams starting to split apart, or the laptop no longer sitting flat on a surface. Check the vents are clear.
- Do not attempt to remove the battery or force the casing back together if it has parted.
- Ensure that the device and its AC adapter/plug are PAT tested.
- Ensure that the vents on the case of the laptop are clean and are not obstructed during use and do not use the laptop on cushions or similar soft surfaces. Keep the laptop well ventilated.
- Where possible use a laptop riser stand which can improve comfort and help avoid overheating.
- Be mindful to the laptop or AC adapter becoming excessively hot beyond its usual temperature.
- If there is any smell of burning or ‘hot electrics’ then turn the device off immediately and arrange for a replacement.
- Frequent ‘blue screen’ events would require investigation in any case however these can be a symptom of battery failure and as such should be reported promptly.
If your machine is damaged, overheating or showing signs of the casing becoming warped or domed, cease using it. Unplug it from the power source. Leave the laptop switched on in a safe place, monitoring it until the battery runs flat and allowing it to cool down safely. Report to IT helpdesk, do not use the machine again until inspected and do not plug it into the mains power supply.
- RMG SHE Safety Flash FY22 03 – Overheating Laptop Batteries
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer