Common causes of workplace fires

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There’s a lot that can be done to avoid workplace fires and the best defense is always prevention. But sometimes even in front of our best efforts, fires can still occur – causing injuries, damage and countless other issues.

While fires can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, here are a few of the most common causes of workplace fires. Let’s jump right in!

Electrical fires

Over 25% of all fires are electrical fires and they can happen from a whole range of things that could go wrong. Sometimes it’s an equipment malfunction, sometimes it’s a power overload, and sometimes it’s just a freak accident.

It’s important that every workplace have an electrical fire safety plan in place, specifically. They should know what extinguishers to use and what will work to fight the fire in the event they need to. You should also be sure that you’re inspecting wires, keeping up on your suppression system’s maintenance and the like.

Flammable materials

There are literally thousands of chemicals that are used in workplaces all over the United States. Improper handling of these materials can cause a fire. Worse yet, when these liquids or compounds are spilled, they give off vapors that can be harmful to your lungs and the air around you. Those vapors can also ignite – making them doubly dangerous. Flammable liquid spills should be cleaned up immediately.

Be sure your employees are trained thoroughly on all OSHA guidelines when it comes to flammables.

Human error

Things happen and as humans, we’re not immune to error. Sometimes the water supply is turned off when there’s a fire. Sometimes people mishandle materials. Sometimes people don’t pay attention during safety training. Whatever it is – humans are a major cause of workplace fires.

The best you can do is to make sure your safety systems are in good, working condition and that you’re doing your best to make sure that your staff is prepared in the event a fire happens.

At the end of the day, fire prevention should be something that is considered part of everyone’s job. That means keeping workspaces clutter-free and safe from fire hazards. It means not plugging too many things into a wall. It means taking care of chemicals and flammable materials. As is the case with anything – the best prevention is education and training, so make sure that fire prevention is an integral part of what you do.

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