BS6396: Standards 2022

BS6396 is the British standard for electrical systems specification in furniture

BS6396 Summary

BS6396 is the British standard covering the installation of electrical systems in all furniture except special purpose workstations in laboratories or workshops.

BS6396 defines in detail the requirements for the safe use of electrical power sockets (up to 250V), supplied from either the fixed mains wiring via a 13A fused plug or from batteries at a nominal voltage not exceeding 48Vd.c. It also covers areas such as cable management and the segregation of power and data cables.

NOTE: Any power distribution systems that are connected to the building installation by anything other than a 13A BS1363 plug or a supply derived from batteries installed within the furniture should follow the requirements of BS7671.

Power Sockets. Maximum Number & Fusing

BS6396 limits the number of BS1363 13A sockets connected to a single supply to either:

  • No more than 6 sockets fused at 3.15A
  • No more than 4 sockets fused at 5A


BS6396 also specifies the number of Extra Low Voltage (ELV)outlets allowed.
In addition to the above permitted max number of AC sockets, up to 150W output of ELV is allowed.

If more than 150W is required then:

  • For every 3.15A socket removed you can add up to 500W output of ELV power
  • For every 5A socket removed you can add up to 700W output of ELV power.

Socket resettable fuses/thermal overloads should be either inaccessible without the use of a tool, trip free or inaccessible unless the load is disconnected.

BS6396 diagram
BS6396 fuses

Resettable fuse, covered by power plug, requires load to be disconnected before resetting.
Highest safety level.

Resettable fuses, may be accessible with use of a tool.
Acceptable safety level.

Resettable fuses, accessible without a tool, are only acceptable if they are TRIP FREE.
Check with supplier.

Tool release fuses can be used in place of thermal overloads. No positional requirement
Acceptable safety level.


For power sockets mounted directly in furniture with no external housing, the furniture requires earthing

For power mounted in plastic insulated housing, the furniture does not require earthing

For power encased in an earthed metal housing, the furniture does not require earthing

OE products are supplied with an external earth point as standard, but can be provided without if requested.

Cable Management

Furniture should allow for suitable cable management. Cable management systems should be free from sharp edges to protect cabling. Grommet holes should be adequately sized to allow cables to pass through easily. Cable bend radius should be kept to minimum to prevent damage to cables.
Cable supports may be used in place of cable management, cable supports should have no more than a maximum of 300mm gap between supports.

Power cables from the connection point that are exposed should be no more than 2m in length from furniture

Cable Segregation

Cable segregation should be allowed for within cable management to separate power cables from other cables such as ELV, data and telecommunications cables.

Batteries and Inverters

Inverters for use with battery systems should be no more than 500W capacity. Battery voltage should be no more than 48V DC. Battery inverter systems must comply with BS EN IEC 62040-1 or BS EN IEC 62368-1.

When using power sockets with a battery system an RCD is required to protect the user. RCD’s should not be rated more 30mA

Furniture Marking

Furniture should be clearly marked near cables or sockets with:

  • Name, trademark of manufacturer or vendor
  • BS6396
  • If furniture is earthed or not and if so where
  • Where instructions are located
  • The rating of the system
  • Max current rating
  • Supply cable labelled with connection requirements
  • Instruction that the system cannot be reconfigured without first observing manufacturer’s instructions
  • If furniture contains batteries, the information must state battery type, for indoor or outdoor use and that manufacturer’s instructions are followed

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