Every year, thousands of companies suffer major losses due to fire accidents. According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, 22,200 fires occurred in non-domestic buildings between 2013 and 2014; that’s an average of 60 fire incidents a day!
It is important to note that most of these fires could have been avoided if the proper safety precautions were practiced at all times. Before you start planning the correct fire protection methods for your workplace, it is important that we first try to identify the most common causes of fire:
Faulty Electrical Appliances
Almost 12,000 fires in the UK are ignited by damaged or misused electrical appliances; the lack of proper maintenance and inappropriate handling of this equipment by unqualified personnel are also reasons for a fire to occur.
Check your appliances for any signs of defect, such as loose or frayed wiring – replace or have a professional electrician service any faulty equipment immediately. Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) should also be undertaken annually to ensure that all your electrical equipment is in good working order.
Waste and Combustible Materials
Materials that can contribute to a flammable liquid fire – such as oxidizers, propane, gasoline, isopropyl alcohol and aerosol cans – should be stored at least 3 feet away from electrical panels and heating facilities.
The build-up of waste such as paper and cardboard can also be the cause of fire if not disposed of regularly.
36% of fires reported between 2014 and 2015 were caused by Smokers’ materials (i.e. cigarettes, cigars or pipe tobacco). As one of the leading causes of fire, cigarettes are responsible for a large percentage of fire related deaths in the UK every year.
Tip: Do not allow anyone to smoke inside your premises – have a designated smoking area that is located away from the main building.
No matter how simple a task is employees are bound to make mistakes. Human error will always be inevitable and as such this factor is recognised as one of the most common causes of accidents in the workplace.
All staff should be properly educated on the correct procedures to follow in case of a fire. You should also have a fire extinguisher stationed in an accessible area and ensure that every staff member knows how to use it.
Unfortunately, fires are sometimes started on purpose. The deed can be carried out by a complete stranger or by someone who holds a grudge.
Be vigilant and impose strict security measures throughout your premises. Install surveillance cameras on the doorways and other priority areas and employ security personnel that can guard your building 24/7.
Fire safety should always be a vital concern in every workplace. Fire Services Central Ltd. has a team of competent fire risk assessors that can conduct fire risk assessments in Northampton and throughout the UK. With any enquiries, please contact 0121 525 1976 – it’s always better to be safe than sorry!