BS6396 Overview

BS 6396:2008+A1:2015 Electrical Systems in Office Furniture and Educational Furniture (supersedes BS6396:2002) and specifies the requirements for the safe provision of electrical power and data systems in office furniture, office screens and educational furniture.

Electrical equipment and installations must be designed and tested to ensure their safety and to comply with statutory regulations, in particular, the Electricity at Work Regulations and Health & Safety at Work Act

Amendments in 2015

BS 6396 was updated December 2015 to now incorporate a 30mA RCD protection and reflect the changes which have been in place for fixed wiring installations complying to the 17th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations BS 7671, the amendment to BS 6396 now requires new Desk Electrics installations to incorporate a 30mA RCD protection if the fixed wiring does not.

Contact us for solutions for non RCD protected supplies.

The following schematic indicates the maximum Fuse ratings and configurations permitted under BS6396 for Desk or Workstation power installations.

BS6396 Schematic

As can be seen outlet sockets should be individually fused at either 3.15A or 5A dependant on the number of outlets on each 13A Mains feed supplied from a Wall or Floor outlet.

1 - 4 Outlet can be fused at 5A, with 5-6 outlets ALL outlets must be fused at a maximum 3.15A

The Maximum number of outlet permitted is 6, this can be in any combination of daisy chained modules. The schematic shows a 6 outlet system consisting of a 4 way (Normally underdesk 4 gang module) and a 2 way extension unit (Normally a 2 outlet desktop module)

If an appliance exceeds the outlet rating for the desks power installation then it MUST be fed from a seperate floor or wall outlet. In ALL Cases, appliances above 5A MUST be supplied from a seperate wall or floor outlet and NOT via desk power module systems.

Additional Earth bonded variations of power modules may be required dependant on the desking systems installed.

BS6396 Exclusions

Why BS6396 is important

These regulations have two primary functions in the workplace - Firstly to reduce the risks of electrical shock and secondly, but equally importantly, to reduce the risk of fire caused by overloading and overheating of cabling and components.

What's the problem if the plugs fused at 13 Amps ?

Contrary to popular belief a standard 13 Amp plug fuse to BS1362 does not "blow" at 13 Amps but is designed to operate continuously at ~1.66 x its rating (i.e. 21+ Amps)

What's the problem with using domestic extension leads ?

UK Domestic extension leads are normally fitted with 1.25mm2 flex which has a current capacity of ~13A in a normal environment. Since the individual sockets are not fused there is no protection on what can be plugged into each socket therefore it is very easy to overload the current capacity of the extension lead flex causing it to overheat and over time breakdown or catch fire.
An example found on a site was a 4 gang extension lead with a 3KW fan heater, laptop and printer plugged in. after about 6 months it was reported that the heater and printer had stopped working. Inspection showed that the flex inside the extension lead plug had melted and burnt through the live core.

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