When it comes to fire outbreaks, commercial buildings aren’t often spared. In fact, they are usually one of the worst hits. Office fires are a common catastrophe worldwide, causing massive damages running into several million dollars.
All London businesses with physical locations are vulnerable to fire outbreaks, especially those that are home to many electrical appliances and flammable materials. To protect your workplace from a potential fire outbreak, you’ll have to take the necessary steps to prevent fire hazards.
Here are some tips on how to do that.
Leading Causes of Office Fires
Office fires are responsible for damages amounting to $112 million per year in the U.S. Below, we’ll be looking at the common causes of these fire outbreaks.
- Cooking equipment (29%)
- Electrical distribution and lightning equipment (12%)
- Heating equipment (11%)
- Intentional fires (10%)
- Smoking materials (9%)
- Exposure ( 4%)
Understanding the causes of office fires can be instrumental in creating the best fire prevention measures in your office. Ensure you enlighten your employees on fire safety measures to reduce the likelihood of fire outbreaks in your office.
That said, here are some effective ways to prevent fire hazards in your workplace.
1. Storage of Waste and Combustible Materials
Are your employees fond of littering the office with paper, cardboard and other combustible materials? If yes, consider implementing a law to bar such a habit as littering the office with combustible materials increases the risk of accidental fires.
Warehouses, delivery docks, and storage rooms should be inspected and cleaned often. Also, consider creating a designated area for waste, far away from the main building and another source of ignition like heaters, fans, office appliances, vehicles, etc. The aim here is to isolate (or remove) flammable materials from the office to reduce the chances of a fire outbreak.
2. Heat-Generating Equipment and Machinery
The office, like the home, consists of many electrical appliances. As those in your home, these appliances are prone to faults associated with regular use or degeneration.
Faulty electrical appliances are one of the most common workplace fire hazards, which is why it’s recommended that you inspect all electronics for faults. You can carry out PAT Testing London to reduce the chances of electrical hazards that can contribute to fire outbreaks. In addition to scheduling a PAT test, you can enlighten your staff on fire hazard safety measures. Here are some:
- Don’t overload outlets.
- Use only equipment that is well-grounded or double-insulated
- Don’t shield power cords with rugs or mats
- Use surge protectors, not extension cords. Don’t plug two surge protectors together.
- Use equipment that has been approved by a national testing lab
- Don’t use electrical appliances near water or wet surfaces
- Don’t ignore warning signs like buzzing noises, smoke or sparks.
3. Dust build-up
Dust isn’t often seen as a cause for concern, especially regarding fire hazards. And while not all dust requires your full attention, you shouldn’t ignore combustible dust. Combustible dust can catch fire and explode if exposed to heat, static electricity, friction, or flames.
Ensuring that your offices are cleaned regularly can reduce the risk of fire outbreaks associated with combustible flames. In addition to cleaning your office regularly, it’s essential to encourage employees to clear their desks after work to reduce dust accumulation in workplaces and around ignition sources. Proper air conditioning can also help mitigate dust around your office.
4. Flammable liquids and vapors
Workplaces with commercial laundries and kitchens are often more prone to fire outbreaks due to the presence of flammable chemicals and liquids. If your workplace has a laundry, you may want to be careful about where you store flammable laundry components like detergent pods, stain cleaners, and fabric softeners.
Also, if your workplace features a kitchen, ensure you store your flour, rubbing alcohol, vegetable oil, LPG gas cylinder, and kerosene in safe places—possibly away from sources of ignition. Fire outbreaks are often accelerated by spillages and reckless storage. So ensure you store flammable liquids and chemicals appropriately.