Workplace fires are prevalent and are usually caused by a simple and preventable mistake. The well-documented fires in the workplace have claimed a countless number of lives and damaged businesses. Many businesses that experience these fires never recover.
To prevent this from happening, it’s best to look at the basics such as getting to know the main causes of fire and fire safety measure.
Faulty electrics are a common culprit of fires in homes. The risk is greater in workplaces because electrical equipment carries a source of ignition.
Broken plugs, loose wires, frayed wires, broken and defective plugs, overloaded sockets, faulty and old equipment should not be ignored as they can cause a fire. A simple spark can set alight a desk, discarded papers, cardboards, this can then find its way to an overheated plug that will ignite the first combustible item it comes into contact with.
Every workplace should carry out regular inspections to keep all electronics maintained and in full working order.
Techniques for Prevention
- Check for frayed or faulty wiring.
- Check for overloaded, shorted or overheated sockets.
- Check and replace all rattling sockets or the ones with loose covers.
- Keep combustible items away from electrical equipment.
- Do not go past the voltages and wattages.
- Ensure that every equipment is properly installed and regularly checked for competence.
- Carry out Portable Appliance Testing (PAT).
- Any fault should be reported to the supervisor immediately.
One vital component to start a fire is a source of fuel. Combustible items such as plastics, paper, and fabrics should not be allowed to pile up. A stray spark could immediately cause a fire that spreads rapidly.
Do not allow areas that produce dust to stay unattended to. Such an area should be well ventilated, not be too enclosed and the ignition source should be kept at a distance.
Carelessly discarding cigarette butts is a great risk and a number of factory fires have been started this way. This is usually a risk during colder months when smokers creep closer to the warmth of the doorways, instead of smoking far away from the building. Make sure that everyone adheres to the smoking policies.
Your area of work may have an influx of electronic devices during winter months. Many Christmas lights and portable heaters will find their way into the building and this greatly increases the risk of a fire if safe practices are not observed.
This risk should be avoided by:
- Constantly checking the cables and plugs of Christmas lights and electronic heaters.
- Do not use extension cords to connect portable heaters.
- Never place items on top of portable heaters.
- Turn off all the heaters and lights at the end of each day.
- Never overload outlets with plugs.
- Keep a 3-feet distance around heaters. The heaters should also not be placed close to furniture or other combustible items.
- Only use heaters that have safety features.
Having a strong understanding of what can cause a fire in the workplace will enable you to easily prevent fires.