Common Causes of Fire in the Workplace
Fires and explosions don’t happen too frequently in the workplace in Ireland, thankfully, but fire safety should be on your mind if you own a business. Workplace fires can spiral out of control in a matter of minutes and can be extremely dangerous to employees and damage stock and property. We have listed the most common causes of fire in the workplace so you can take steps to prevent them. It’s always good to be one step ahead regarding fire safety.
Faulty Electrical Equipment
Faulty electrical equipment is one of the most common causes of fire in the workplace. Electrical fires can start due to faulty connections, loose wires and overloaded sockets. It is most common because it can be found in any workplace such as an office, warehouse, workshop or restaurant. Some businesses do not want to spend money on upgrading or replacing electrical equipment, even if they are old and visibly damaged. It is an investment purchasing new equipment, but it is worth it for the safety of your staff, stock and property.
You cannot put out electrical fires with water, so they have that added danger element with them. It is one of many reasons why you should always have working fire extinguishers in the workplace.
It is often found that businesses do not adequately store flammable materials. It is especially true for the likes of garages and workshops. Sparks or flames can hit flammable materials next to them, and it can cause mayhem. To combat this, you should always store flammable materials away from ignition sources such as machines.
Some workplaces may be more of a hazard than others. In warehouses, there is a lot of stock and potentially explosive materials. Even if fire safety is the priority, they can still happen, so having a plan in place in the event of a fire is crucial.
Another common cause of fire in the workplace is cooking equipment. It is most prevalent in restaurants but can occur in other workplaces too. When cooking at work, ensure you know what you are doing and keep all flammable materials away from heat sources. In a busy restaurant, stress could be high, but everyone needs to focus on the job and fire safety.
Poor Staff Training
Accidents are a part of life. Equipment that is working correctly may unexpectedly catch fire. There is no way to predict it. Proper staff training is crucial for dealing with fires and avoiding them in the first place. Minor mistakes could result in a massive fire. For example, not storing flammable materials in a proper place. Staff should be educated on the risks of flammable materials. It is your responsibility as a business owner to train your staff on fire safety. You should also have a procedure in place in the unfortunate events of a fire in the workplace.
Your staff should not have to work out what to do in the event of a fire by themself. You should have a fire plan and be trained regularly. The nearest exit should be highlighted.
Smoking is still a common cause of fire in the workplace. Most businesses now have a designated outdoor smoking area; if they don’t, they should. Staff may have smoked near flammable materials without the employee’s notice. If the cigarette isn’t put out properly, it can lead to a fire. Smoking can lead to several variations of workplace fires.
Lack of Resources
Prevention is key to fire safety in the workplace. Investing in resources designed to keep people safe in a fire is vital. Some businesses neglect this step due to a shortage of cash. Working smoke detectors and smoke alarms are essential and should not be neglected. If your company doesn’t have adequate fire resources, you are leaving yourself and your staff vulnerable in the event of a fire.
Unfortunately, arson and the deliberate act of starting a fire on business premises are not as rare as you think. Vandals are known to target commercial and industrial businesses. There are steps to prevent arson.
The primary preventative measure you should take is setting up CCTV and installing motion sensor lights as a deterrent to the criminal. A security system may make a criminal think twice about their activities.
Another measure to take is to install an anti-fire sprinkler system. If a fire starts, the sprinkler system can put out the fire. It can help limit any damage and prevent it from spreading throughout the building.
If your commercial property was damaged by fire, we could help restore it. We have developed effective cleaning techniques, and with specialised equipment, we can remove char, smoke odour and other damage caused by fire on various surfaces. Contact Tersus online or call us on 0818 333 354.