Fires happen everywhere and result in huge losses of life and property damages. However, workplace fires can be even more damaging than domestic ones, because they endanger the lives of more people who gather inside a building every day to earn their livelihoods. Let me explain you top seven leading causes of workplace fires with briefing of each.
Combustible and flammable materials can range from serious ones like chemicals and oil to seemingly harmless ones like paper, towels, cardboard boxes, and other products made of wood or plastic. Most workplaces are chock full of some of these materials and it only takes the slightest of sparks of fire to light up everything in the surroundings. Before you know it, the fire consumes everything in sight and spreads out of control.
A short circuit is one of the most likely causes of electrical fires in the workplace. Defective electrical equipment such as improper wiring, out-of-date and expired electronics, and overburdened sockets are always at risk of overheating or short-circuiting. Because of the modern lifestyle’s dependence on electricity and extensive amounts of wiring in every building, a little spark caused by electrical short circuits can quickly spiral out of control.
Although smoking is often taken lightly by everyone (especially smokers), it is one of the most common causes of fire in the UK workplaces as well as in the whole world. It usually happens when someone smokes outside the designated smoking areas and throws away the still-heated cigarette butt carelessly, which catches on to a piece of cloth, paper, or some other flammable material and sets the whole place ablaze.
Previously listed causes of workplace fires can all be attributed to human error and coincidence. Unfortunately, sometimes a fire can be caused deliberately by someone who intends to harm a particular workplace. That person could be anyone including a jealous competitor, an unhappy employee, or a straight-up terrorist. Protection against arson requires dedication from the management to address any possible avenues of destruction and requires robust monitoring of the workplace through CCTV cameras and other surveillance equipment to keep the premises safe from harmful individuals.
Many workplaces contain kitchens to prepare food for their staff. A kitchen brings many ignition sources in the workplace such as lighters, matchsticks, stoves, and many more. Any carelessness inside the kitchen can cause a fire. Also, due to the presence of burnable gas for cooking purposes, even a sharp rise in temperature can result in a fire that can spread outward.
Due to the presence of many people at the workplace who are mostly in a hurry to get their jobs done, errors and occurrences of negligence by workers are highly likely. These errors may include using malfunctioning electrical equipment, or incorrect usage of a piece of equipment may result in a fire. These kinds of incidents can occur without proper education about the causes of fire and appropriate fire training to deal with such scenarios.
Developed countries bound business managements and owners of property by law to conduct a thorough Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) of their buildings to determine how much they are likely to suffer in case of a potential fire breakout. In countries like the United Kingdom , fire risk assessment reviews are compulsory and are normally valid for a period of 02 years, after which updated FRA examinations are recommended.
However, some property owners or business managers choose to ignore that aspect of fire safety, and as a result, fires can break out inside their buildings because they failed to take into account the changes inside the buildings that occurred over time. It is important that each building owner reviews its fire safety parameters after every 02 years to ensure the safety of its occupants.
Ensure the protection of your workplace and households through a robust and comprehensive fire safety risk assessment by trained professionals. Leave a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 077 8003 0185 to book your appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, pinched or faulty wires are damaged in many places and therefore interrupt the free flow of electricity inside them. The electricity passing through them encounters resistance due to their poor condition, and that resistance results in increasing amounts of heat that can cause a short circuit.
Keeping workplaces neat and clean all the time is key, because it prevents an overflow of flammable items in all sorts of places which can spread a fire. For more robust fire prevention, have an updated Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) review of your workplace to know how likely it is to catch fire and what measures are needed to counter such an incident.
Fire depends on three things to occur:
a. An ignition
For example, if you let your electrical heater and your gas stove on at the same time. The fire will spread because:
a. The heater provided the ignition because of its high temperature and heat
b. The gas provided the fuel to the heat, which grew into a fire
c. The air provided oxygen to help the fire to spread.
Fires are deadly. Workplace fires are deadlier and messier. Every employee and manager at the workplace needs to have proper fire safety education and training to deal with this kind of unfortunate scenario. Business managers and building owners also need to make necessary arrangements to ensure their buildings’ resistance to fire and the safety of their inhabitants.
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John Adrian is a seasoned assessor in various environmental hazard fields and has combined his evaluation nous with an impressive know-how about all the rules and regulations concerning environmental hazard evaluations such as Fire Risk, Legionella Risk, and Asbestos Risk. He has been utilizing his knowledge to help people conduct necessary hazard assessments and ensure compliance with concerned government regulators.
The keen passion of Fire Safety Risk Assessment is to offer professional services, delivered in a timely manner. For all businesses, commercial premises & landlords, FSRA keeps your businesses safe controlling the risk of loss from fire hazards, asbestos risks and from legionella bacteria.