You’d be hard pressed to find a business today that doesn’t have laptop computers listed among its assets. Large companies have hundreds of them; midsize ones issue them to managers to facilitate mobility; and many small businesses rely on them as primary computing devices.
Now, in and of itself, a laptop may seem harmless. But they literally hold a clear and present danger to companies: their batteries. Poorly maintained or damaged batteries can catch fire — putting any people and property nearby in serious risk. Faulty batteries can also hamper the device’s functionality, shorten its lifespan and put critical data at risk, inhibiting employees’ productivity and lowering morale.
To help guard against the possibility that one of your company’s laptops might incur battery-related damage, follow these best practices:
- Require the use of only compatible computer batteries or chargers.
- If you maintain an inventory of loose batteries, keep them away from metal objects, such as small tools, coins, keys or jewelry.
- Educate employees to, perhaps ironically, not use their computers on their laps or on any other soft surface (such as a bed or sofa) that could restrict airflow.
- Teach employees to never place any heavy objects on their laptops that could crush, puncture or place a high degree of pressure on the battery.
- Provide training on the proper transportation of laptops to prevent bumping the computers into objects or dropping them on hard surfaces.
- Instruct users to never put a laptop in an area that could get very hot, such as the hood or dashboard of a vehicle, or a desk in a warm room directly exposed to sunlight.
- Explain to employees how to safeguard their laptops from moisture and, if a computer does get wet, to bring it in for maintenance immediately because, even after drying, batteries or circuitry could slowly corrode and pose a safety hazard.
Ultimately, workers need to follow battery usage, storage and charging guidelines found in the user’s guide of their respective laptops.
Laptop battery manufacturers are a key resource in staying safe. Remind staff that they shouldn’t use batteries subject to recall while awaiting a replacement battery pack from the manufacturer. Employees should use the AC adapter power cord to power their laptops in the meantime.
If you’re unsure about the compatibility of any of your company’s laptops and batteries, or you suspect one of your units may have been damaged, contact the manufacturer to determine whether you’re at greater risk for a battery-related mishap. In fact, you might want to contact the manufacturer anyway just to get the latest on safety concerns about laptop batteries.
Laptops, and computing devices in general, represent a substantial cost outlay for virtually every size and type of business. We can help you set a reasonable purchasing budget and better track and manage the maintenance costs of these critical assets.
We highly recommend you confer with your Miller Kaplan advisor to understand your specific situation and how this impacts you.