5 Biggest Fire Hazards in the Workplace
Most workplaces have all the components that can cause the outbreak of a fire, and without proper care and training, can be at serious risk of an accident. A significant number of fires are reported in the workplace in the UK every year, with various causes. This article looks at the most common fire hazards amongst the workplace, and how these risks can be reduced.
1. Waste/combustible material on site
Many commercial buildings have a buildup of waste materials such as paper and cardboard, both of which are considered combustible materials. Incorrectly disposed of materials – or if they are ignored altogether – provide fuel for fire if it breaks out, and gathered all in one place, this could be have a devastating effect on any workplace. You should have a clear disposal plan in place, and ensure that any rubbish stored is kept in a locked area away from main buildings and any potential sources of ignition.
2. Flammable liquids
The volume of flammable liquids such as cleaning fluids will vary from workplace to workplace, especially depending on the type of environment (office vs factory), however even a small number of flammable liquids can pose a huge fire risk if stored incorrectly, as they can ignite at the smallest contact with a source of ignition. To reduce this risk, keep all flammable liquids separated by storing them in a lockable ventilated cabinet, and be sure not to store this anywhere near a fire hazard.
Surprisingly, dust is one of the biggest causes of fire in workplaces without proper ventilation. Buildup from wood, plastic, and other materials used on a daily basis can gather in equipment and machinery, potentially causing it to breakdown and have faults, or even go so far as to cause explosions. Any machinery that could heat up during use must be kept free of dust and grime, and extraction fans should be 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 – an especially big risk if combustible materials are kept nearby. From computers to industrial machinery, a potential fire risk is for equipment to overheat from excessive use and spark, which could lead to a fire if this occurs near combustible materials. Keep equipment away from these materials to reduce the risk, and do not 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 and not realise this is a fire hazard. It’s difficult to completely remove the risk of human error, but fire safety training can greatly help in educating your employees on the correct procedures whilst in the workplace.
Our experienced team here at Cheshire Fire have been helping companies reduce fire hazards in the workplace for years. We’re one of the leading suppliers of fire extinguishers, alarms and fire safety equipment, and also provide risk assessments and fire safety training to ensure your premises stay safe.
For more advice, or any further information on the services we offer, don’t hesitate to contact us here today, we’ll be happy to help you.