The majority of workplaces have all the components that can cause the outbreak of a fire. Fires can quickly cause significant damage to property, as well as injury to employees on site or even worse. Thousands of fires are reported in the workplace in the UK every year, with various causes. We look at the most common fire hazards amongst the workplace, and how these risks can be reduced.
1 – Waste/combustible material
Many commercial buildings have a build-up of combustible waste materials such as paper and cardboard. When these materials are incorrectly disposed, or even ignored altogether, they can provide the perfect fuel for fire if it breaks out. When these combustible materials are stored in just one place, it could have a devastating effect on any workplace.
To reduce risk, a clear disposal plan should be put in place. This will ensure that any rubbish stored is kept in a locked area away from main buildings and any potential sources of ignition.
2 – Flammable liquids
Whilst the volume of flammable liquids (such as cleaning fluids) varies between workplaces, even the smallest volume can pose a huge fire risk if stored incorrectly. Flammable liquids can ignite at the smallest contact with a source of ignition.
To minimise risk, keep all flammable liquids separate by storing them in a lockable ventilated cabinet, ensuring they’re stored well away from any potential fire hazard.
3 – Dust
Surprisingly, dust is one of the biggest causes of fire in workplaces without proper ventilation. Dust build-up from wood, plastic, and other materials used in the workplace gathers in equipment and machinery, potentially causing it to have faults, or even cause explosions.
To protect your site, any machinery that could heat up during use must be kept free of dust and grime. It’s also prudent to ensure adequate extraction fans are installed in environments in which dust is likely to be in the air, such as factories and warehouses.
4 – Heat Generating Objects
Electrical equipment and machinery can overheat and start a fire. This is even more of a risk if combustible materials are kept nearby. Whether it’s an office computer or large factory machinery, a potential fire risk is for equipment to overheat from excessive use and spark – which could ignite a fire if near combustible materials.
Reduce risk by ensuring equipment is kept away from these materials, and don’t leave equipment on overnight unless absolutely necessary, or unplug if it is not being used.
5 – Human Error
One of the most common causes of fire within the workplace is simple human error. Untrained staff can easily place combustible materials in the wrong place without realising it poses a fire hazard. Whilst it’s difficult to completely remove the risk of human error, fire safety training can greatly help in educating your employees on the correct procedures whilst in the workplace.
Are you confident your staff would know what to do in the event of a fire? We provide full fire safety training, as well as fire risk assessments to ensure your business is as protected from fire as it can be.
For a no obligation quotation, contact us today.