The workplace is where we spend roughly half of our waking lives. It’s also typically a hub that sees dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people passing through at all times of the day and night. In such an environment, there are always going to be safety risks to consider and chief among them is the risk of fire.
A fire in the workplace can prove catastrophic not only for the health and safety of the employees but for the financial stability of the company itself. Of course, having a good fire alarm system in place is mandatory, however, preventative measures are always preferable.
With that in mind, we’ve collected together 5 of the top hazards that can lead to a fire in the workplace if left unchecked.
Particularly relevant in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s vital that your premises are kept spotless at all times for several reasons, not least of which is the health of your staff. However, did you also know that an inconsistently cleaned workplace can also be a significant fire hazard? A build-up of dust, coupled with a poorly ventilated space can pose a serious hazard. Not only that, but computers, fans and other pieces of machinery that are not regularly cleaned can also build up dust and lead to overheating.
If you neglect to maintain electrical and mechanical equipment, it can always break down and lead to a potential fire hazard. This not only includes the obvious things like computers, printers and industrial equipment but even kitchen equipment and cleaning equipment – microwaves and vacuum cleaners. Ensure all equipment is regularly inspected for signs of obvious damage that could become a fire risk.
Paper, good and cardboard are all incredibly combustible materials that can be found in most modern workplaces. Of course, it would be impossible for many businesses to function without them, so we’re not recommending avoiding them completely but we would suggest storing them away from any potential sources of ignition. This also goes for waste products left outside; if a fire starts it could breach the building and ignite materials inside. Of course, all flammable liquids should also be stored in well-ventilated and locked cabinets. This includes paints and cleaning supplies.
The general public
Any workplace open to the public means an increased risk of arson or accidental fires. Installing CCTV and intruder alarms is a good way to cut down on the former but as far as the latter is concerned, the best way to ensure no cataclysmic accidents occur is to adhere to the guidance above.
Good old fashioned human error
Finally, it’s not only the general public that can lead to fire disasters but your employees too. Accidents can and will happen and the best way to mitigate this risk is to invest in a good fire safety training program. This should cover everything from how to prevent fires to what should be done in the event of a fire. A fire risk assessment is also a great way of analysing the safety of your workplace and should be undertaken before any intensive training begins so you have a good foundation of knowledge to build on.