Common Cause of Workplace Fires

Workplace fires are an employer’s worst nightmare. Not only do they put people’s lives at risk, cause costly damage, and halt business operations, but it can take months and even years to rebuild your business after a fire.

In 2020/2021, GOV.uk reported that only 75% of UK premises were deemed as satisfactory during fire audits and there were 1,331 formal notices handed out due to non-compliance. So, how confident are you that your business is safe from the risk of fire and enforcement action?

If you’re worried about your business’ lack of fire safety, don’t worry because we’ve outlined some of the most common causes of workplace fires and what you can do to stop them from happening on your premises.

Faulty Electrical Equipment

Faulty electrical equipment is one of the main culprits to starting workplace fires. They tend to be caused by defective wiring, overloaded plugs and sockets, and old or malfunctioning equipment – all of which can cause your electricals to overheat and set fire.

It goes without saying that any damaged or faulty electrical equipment should be removed from the premises and replaced immediately, but how do you know it’s unsafe if there are no obvious warning signs?

Keeping on top of your PAT Testing and Fixed Wire Testing responsibilities as an employer will help indicate what electrical equipment is fit for use and what needs reporting and removing straight away.

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Arson

No matter what your business size or type is, you can still fall victim to an arson attack. In fact, the National Fire Chiefs Council reported that arson accounted for 50.5% of all UK fires attended in 2017/18 by Fire & Rescue Services.

There are a few measures that you can take to reduce the risk of arson having a severe impact on your business such as:

  • Training your employees on;
    • Closing the premises safely and securely
    • Good housekeeping i.e., taking rubbish out, switching sockets off, storing things away etc. so if there was an arson attack, there’s less source of ignition
    • The right reporting methods if they witness an arson attack.
  • Installing CCTV, motion senor lights and a security system as this might act as a deterrent to vandals
  • Installing anti-fire sprinkler systems, especially in high-risk areas to prevent a fire from spreading
  • Report any build-up of rubbish, abandoned vehicles or machinery outside your premises to your local council so they can collect it as these could be targets for an arson attack.

 

Clutter/General Lack of Housekeeping

Clutter is present in all types of work environments whether it’s a pile of paper on an office desk, or a build-up of grease in a restaurant kitchen – it’s in every business which is why it’s one of the common causes of workplace fires.

To prevent a fire breaking out in your business because of clutter, our experts have put together this free poster that you can share to your employees to remind them of how to dispose of clutter safely along with their other fire safety responsibilities.

 

Combustibles and Flammables

There’s a reason combustible and flammable materials should be stored away safely and securely and that’s because if they catch fire, they can destroy your business within minutes. These dangerous substances include:

  • Solvents
  • Paints
  • Varnishes
  • Flammable gases
  • Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
  • Dusts from machining and sanding operations

It’s important to remember that if you introduce any new flammable or combustible materials onto your premises, you’re required under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to update your Fire Risk Assessment.

 

Human Error

Despite all our efforts as humans, we make mistakes every once in a while, but when it comes to fire safety – there’s no room for mistakes! An accidental spill or forgetting to switch off a machine at the end of the day can have devastating consequences.

To give yourself the reassurance that your company is safe from the risk of an accidental fire, keeping on top of employee training is key. If you know there are employees in your business who haven’t yet completed their fire safety training, it’s important they do it straight away before it’s too late.

Fire safety training will teach your employees:

  • What fire risks and hazards to look out for in the workplace
  • How to report faulty or damaged electrical equipment and fire prevention and protection equipment
  • Who they should report their findings to
  • What the immediate steps are if a fire breaks out
  • How to evacuate safely
  • The consequences of not following the right steps and procedures to fire safety

 

How Citation Fire & Electrical Can Help

We know that running a business can feel like you’re juggling a lot of balls which is why we want to offer our support. As a BAFE registered fire safety compliance provider, we work towards fire safety standards so you can rest assured your business is in the best hands.

Our team of highly-skilled assessors can offer Fire Alarm Maintenance, Fire Extinguisher Servicing, Emergency Light Testing and support with your Fire Risk Assessments. To get in touch with the team, call 0800 055 6559 or just fill in our callback form to find out more.

 

 

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