The risk of fire is one of the greatest dangers in the workplace as it has the potential to kill or injure large numbers of people in a short space of time. First of all, it is important to know that fires need three elements to start and spread. These three elements are heat, oxygen and fuel. Fires don’t just happen, they are mostly caused by people in one or more of the following ways; accidentally, carelessly or deliberately.
People are often naive enough to think that a fire won’t start in their workplace. However, this is not always the case. Here we will talk about the 6 main causes of fires starting in the workplace and some of the precautions that can be taken.
1- Electrical equipment
First off, the misuse of electrical equipment is a common cause of fire in the workplace. Electrical equipment should be properly maintained and regularly checked for obvious damage. Usually you can tell if the equipment is damaged by simply looking at it. This is also known as a “visual inspection.” A simple Inspection must be carried out before the use of the equipment and should be switched off and unplugged when doing so. In many cases there will be obvious danger signs if electrical equipment is not fit for use, including damaged frayed or taped leads, a smell of burning from a socket, unusual buzzing noises from an appliance and cracks in a plug, appliance or socket.
The use of multi point adapters and extension cables have their obvious practical uses. However, this should be a temporary solution, as they put great stress on socket outlets. If you discover a faulty cable you should report the problem and not continue to use it. Faulty cables should be repaired by a professional and not used again until given the all clear.
The misuse of heating appliances can cause fires. An example of this would be portable heaters being placed beside flammable materials. Wall mounted heaters are the safest type of heaters. However, all heaters should be kept clear from clothing and curtains to prevent any risk of fire.
4- Flammable and combustible materials
Flammable and combustible materials pose a hazard for fire in the workplace. These include flammable liquids, paint, chemicals and the build up of rubbish. All materials that create a hazard in the workplace should be stored properly and disposed of correctly in order to prevent fires in the workplace.
Smoking is another common cause of fires happening in the workplace. This is due to the incorrect disposal of cigarettes and matches. Fortunately, fires from smoking can be easily prevented by providing designated smoking areas in the workplace and educating all staff on the matter.
While acts of arson can’t always be prevented, there are however a few steps a company can take to help lower the extent of devastation. These steps include; storing flammable materials correctly, fitting fireproof shutters and having sufficient building security such as CCTV in place at all times.
So there you have it, the 6 main causes of fire in workplace. All employees in any job should be aware of these causes, how to prevent fires and how to act in the case of a fire. Therefore, we recommend people to enroll in our online fire safety training course in order to further their knowledge on the subject.
If you would like to enroll in an online fire safety training course or would like more information please feel free to contact us here.