While email has long supplanted fax machines as the primary means of official communication in most office settings, faxes still remain relevant today. Billions of faxes are sent out each year; you can get a fax number for that. Even where actual fax machines are not used for transmission, many organizations have transitioned to fax from email services as opposed to dropping fax altogether.
Like any other equipment, fax machines will require maintenance and repair from time to time. Such repairs come with some safety hazards, and if not done correctly an employee, customer or vendor can experience injury in the process. An injury at a workplace can also result in costly lawsuits and negative publicity.
If you are going to repair a fax machine or contract someone else to do it, understanding the most important safety precautions to take is crucial. Here is a look at six of the most important safety rules of fax repair.
1. Turn off the Power
Turning off the fax machine’s power supply should precede any repair work. Even unscrewing the covers shouldn’t happen unless the machine is completely off. A powered fax machine not only exposes you to possible electrocution, but you also run the risk of damaging its internal parts.
Don’t just turn the power off the machine, unplug it from the power supply as well. Once this is done, check for any flashing lights to confirm you have unplugged the correct device.
2. Beware of Smoke or Smells
Once you have completed the work, you should switch the fax machine back on, to confirm that the repairs were done successfully. If you notice smoke coming from any part of the fax machine or smell a burning odor, stop whatever you are doing. Unplug the fax immediately.
Do not initiate the shutdown sequence by pressing the power button. That could take too long and allow widespread damage to occur by the time the fax machine has eventually powered off. Even after unplugging the power supply, give it at least 10 minutes to cool down. Investigate where the smoke or smell was coming from and embark on any repair or replacement works needed at that time.
3. Get Rid of Jewelry
Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, watches, and other jewelry should not be worn by anyone doing fax machine repair. These items are often made from conductive metals. They can short circuit fax components or facilitate the transmission of damaging static electricity. The wearer isn’t always conscious of how close these items come to components and tools as they work.
In fact, a rule of thumb is to get rid of all fashion accessories even when they aren’t conductors of electricity. A hanging pendant could hook onto something or drag the fax off the worktop, thereby exacerbating any problems.
4. Avoid Capacitors Unless Necessary
Capacitors are found in some parts of the fax machine. These components store an electric charge for a brief period of time after the machine’s power supply has been switched off.
Therefore, to avoid personal injury or damaging internal fax parts, it’s best to wait a couple of minutes after unplugging the power supply before you begin any repair work.
5. Wear an Antistatic Strap
Static electricity can damage electronic components. Not all such damage is immediately apparent. The affected part may not fail at the point the static discharge occurs, however its operation could be impacted long-term. A part that would usually last three years may fail after just one year because of the stress the discharge event caused.
An antistatic wrist strap is a safe and easy way to ensure you don’t transfer static energy to the fax machine during the repair.
6. Don’t Repair the Irreparable
Not every part of a fax machine can be repaired. You may encounter components labeled “no user-serviceable parts inside, or a similar warning. Recognize your own limitations. Trust that the fax manufacturer knows what they are talking about and do not attempt to repair these parts.
Take it as an instruction and not a recommendation or challenge. Doing the contrary could cause extensive and expensive damage to the fax machine.
With the right skills and tools, fax machine repairs can be done with relative ease. However, that is only possible if the requisite safety precautions are adhered to. If you lack the tools or skills required to do the job effectively, don’t hesitate to call a professional for help.