An average of 52 fires occur every day in the workplace. 2019 alone produced nearly 19,000 workplace fires, resulting in $744 million in property damage. While it may not be possible to eliminate every potential fire hazard, there are still plenty of workplace fire safety practices you can implement to protect your workers, your office, and the financial health of your company.
Let’s tackle some of the most common workplace fire culprits and how to avoid them in your business.
1. Damaged Electrical Equipment
Electrical fires are one of the most common types of fires in the workplace. Everything from a faulty outlet to an overloaded powerstrip to a frayed wire can cause a potentially lethal fire in the workplace.
- Avoid It: Check for damaged or electrical outlets and frayed cables and replace if necessary. Do not overload power strips and outlets.
2. Combustible and Flammable Materials
Not only can combustibles and flammables start a fire, they can also act as fuel to help a fire spread quickly. Cardboard, chemicals, and even beauty products can cause a fire if not handled properly.
- Avoid It: Keep all flammables and combustibles separate from any heating or fire source, including electrical equipment. Ensure that only qualified personnel handle the most volatile materials.
3. Untrained Staff
If you have yet to deploy regular workplace safety training in your organization, you’re not alone. However, untrained staff will be both more likely to unknowingly engage in hazardous behavior and less likely to know what to do should a fire break out in the office.
- Avoid It: Implement a weekly safety checkup in which you can train your employees in fire safety practices as well as address any current safety concerns.
4. No Equipment in Place
There are strict fire safety regulations that must be followed in the workplace. However, with an entire company to run, it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with proper maintenance. When this happens, the entire office is at risk. Should a fire occur, there may not be the proper equipment in place to mitigate the damages.
- Avoid It: Ensure that there is a fire extinguisher present on every floor in an easily accessible area. In addition, check that your fire alarm system is up to code and that you are following all sanctioned fire safety protocols.
Even if you do everything right, all it takes is one nefarious person to decide to start a fire on your property to create massive damage. This person could be an employee, but will more than likely be a stranger who has targeted your building.
- Avoid It: Install a monitored surveillance system as well as a security alarm system and an access control system to better protect yourself from bad actors who may want to start fires on your property.
Cooking-heavy businesses like restaurants and senior care facilities are at a higher risk for culinary fires than other businesses. However, even an office break room holds the threat of a cooking fire from something as simple as a coffee pot.
- Avoid It: Regularly clean cooking equipment to eliminate excess grease that could start a fire. In addition, ensure that any cooking equipment within your building is regularly inspected for damage. Replace any outdated, damaged cooking equipment with new models.
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