Household Appliances in the Workplace

From time to time, employees request permission to use household type appliances in their workspace or adjoining common areas. These appliances include, but are not limited to, items such as space heaters, coffee makers, coffee warmers, hot water pots, toasters, toaster ovens, crock pots, refrigerators, etc.

These guidelines are intended to clarify UW Tower Facilities Services’ position on the use of such appliances. Workplace practices are governed by a number of regulators which include Federal, State, City and County codes as well as those enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

While some items may be safe for home use, they do not meet safety requirements for office environments. In addition, using electrical appliances not designed for commercial use can cause potential safety hazards, business interruptions and damage to office equipment or property. Fire and safety hazards will be prevented and eliminated by asking employees to remove them from the workplace.

Generally, any item that is not provided by Facilities should not be in the workplace. Ultimately, safety is the responsibility of every employee and you can help us to keep your workplace environment safe.

If you are in doubt about the safety of any item in the workplace please contact your UW Facilities Services Team. We appreciate your partnership.