BS 6396:2022 Standard
Electrical Systems in Furniture
Read how our power modules and cable management help you conform to the BS 6396 standard
What is BS 6396?
BS 6396:2022 is the latest British Standard covering the installation of electrical systems in office furniture and is designed to ensure the safe provision of power in the workplace. All power supply modules used in an office or workspace need to comply with this standard. It’s vital that electrical equipment is designed and tested to ensure it is safe to use and that it complies with laws and regulations like the Electricity at Work Regulations and the Health & Safety at Work Act.
Specifically BS 6396:2022 defines the requirements for the safe use of single phase electrical power sockets (operating at rated voltages up to 250V), supplied through connection to the fixed permanent wiring installation of the office building by a 13 Amp fused plug (conforming to BS 1363‑1) and socket (conforming to BS 1363‑2).
Socket outlet limits
BS 6396:2022 limits the number of BS 1363 13 Amp sockets connected to a single supply to either:
• No more than 6 sockets fused at 3.15 Amps
• No more than 4 sockets fused at 5 Amps
Extra Low Voltage (ELV) outlets
BS 6396 also specifies the number of Extra Low Voltage (ELV) outlets, such as USB chargers and wireless chargers, to 150W output. This is in addition to the above permitted max number of AC sockets above. The USB‑A and USB‑C charge ports on our Boost and Solo Plus modules are classed as ELV outlets.
If more than 150W ELV power is required:
• For every 3.15 Amp socket removed you can add up to 500W ELV output
• For every 5 Amp socket removed you can add up to 700W ELV output
Power modules should be daisy-chained together, adhering to the above limits, using the 3-pole male and female connectors. Connecting multiple modules together using the sockets is not acceptable.
All Metalicon power modules conform to BS 5733.
Individual fuses in power sockets are described as individually protected socket outlets (IPS) and provide a safety feature in the electrical circuit. The fuse is designed to blow if the connected device or equipment draws too much current.
To meet this BS 6396 standard Metalicon power modules, including Solo Plus in‑surface modules, Boost desktop modules and Powerlink under-desk modules, have individually protected socket outlets. Sockets in these modules come with 3.15 Amp fuses fitted, which are suitable for most office or workspace devices. In keeping with the BS 6396 standard the fuses can be upgraded to 5 Amp on modules with 4 sockets or less.
Fuses in our modules can be easily replaced. We recommend Ceramic 20mm 3.15 Amp Anti Surge fuses. Anti surge fuses allow for short term surges greater than their current rating as most equipment requires a higher current for a short time on start-up. Glass type fuses are not suitable.
Be careful what you plug in!
These fuse ratings mean you can’t plug all electrical equipment into our power supply modules. They are designed for devices typically found in an office or workspace environment, not for common domestic or industrial appliances.
The tables below give an indication of the typical ratings for electrical equipment and shows what can and can’t be plugged into a Metalicon power module, however we encourage users to always check ratings before plugging in equipment.
|Alto 2 dual motor, three stage
|Up to 100
|Mobile phone charger
|Up to 75
|Typically 20W (USB 3.0), can be as high as 75W for multiple fast charging
|Battery chargers for tools
|Up to 350
|Typically 50-350W, the faster the charger the higher the power
|Fridge (under counter)
|Desk lamp (60W bulb)
|Desk lamp (LED)
|Cordless phone charger
|Up to 300
|Often the higher the spec. the more power it needs
|Television (55” UHD)
|Up to 65W
|Most are battery powered / USB charge
|Up to 13
|Up to 3000
|Typically 2200 – 3000W
|Fan heater / radiator
|Up to 13
|Up to 3000
|Typically 2000 – 3000W
|Toaster (4 slice)
|Newer vacuums are often less
|Portable air conditioner
|Up to 9.3
|Up to 2000
|Typically 900 – 2000W
For every 230 Watts, a 1 Amp current is drawn. You can convert amps to watts and watts to amps using the calculators below.
To meet the BS 6396 standard any electrical equipment that requires more than 5 Amps must be connected directly to its own 13 Amp wall socket.
Need more than 5A?
Our original Solo module comes hardwired to a 13 Amp plug. It doesn’t use the 3‑pole connector system and doesn’t have individual socket fuses. Therefore you can plug any electrical device rated up to 13 Amp into this power module (provided it is plugged directly into a wall or floor socket).
According to BS 6396 requirements power sockets mounted in plastic insulated housing (Solo Plus in‑surface modules and Boost desktop modules) or encased in an earthed metal housing (Powerlink under-desk modules) do not require earthing. Powerlink modules do have a trailing earth wire if required in other environments.
To comply with BS 6396 cable routes should be smooth and free from sharp edges including any holes that cables pass through. Cables should not be bent or twisted in a way that will cause damage or stress. On moving parts of furniture like sit/stand desks, cables should be protected from chaffing or damage.
The exposed power cable (to the floor box or wall socket) should not be more 2m in length.
Cable management should offer cable segregation to separate power cables from ELV, data cables and telecommunication cables.
We strongly recommend using cable management with desks, workstations and standing desks. Metalicon offer a range of wide sturdy metal cable trays that can be easily fixed underneath the desktop or to modesty panels. Cable ties can be used with these trays to segregate cables if required.
We also offer cable wrap socks with segregation straps for fixed height desks and our innovative Linx cable spine can be adapted to suit fixed height desks, sit/stand desks and used from tray to tray, routing cables from the desktop all the way to the floor box. Linx offers two high capacity compartments for easy cable segregation.
If a cable management management system is not used cable supports should be used, spaced at a maximum of 300mm apart.
Check your equipment regularly
Plugs and wires on your equipment can become damaged with use. Find out how to check the plugs on your devices with Electrical Safety First.