The most common causes of workplace fires

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While any business can do a lot to protect themselves against fires, the best thing they can do to prevent a fire is to prevent one from starting in the first place. With the right tools and tips, these types of accidents can easily be avoided. Here are some of the most common causes of workplace fires and how you can avoid them.

Electrical Fires 

Over 25% of all total fires are linked to the malfunction of an electronic device of some sort. Employees should be made aware of safety procedures for their particular jobs. When it comes to tools and equipment, they should always know how to use them properly. This rings especially true in the case of items such as extension chords – which if not inspected properly – can deteriorate rapidly and cause potential problems.

Combustible materials 

Thousands of chemicals are used daily in the American workplace. Improper handling of these chemicals can result in the risk of a fire. Especially in the case of flammable liquids, even the vapors can be enough to cause a fire.

There are several OSHA guidelines on how to handle flammable liquids – and they should be followed to the ‘t’. Especially in the instance of a spill, it needs to be cleaned up immediately.

Not planning

Success in fire prevention depends heavily on pre-planning and prevention. The more ready you are, the better condition your equipment is in and the more you practice your emergency plans, the safer you’ll be. It’s when we don’t hold ourselves to these standards that issues can happen. Issues like fire extinguishers not being inspected, water being turned off on sprinkler systems, employees not knowing exit routes and the like.

You’d be surprised at how little work it takes to be on top of these things and considering the going exchange on the risk associated with fire; it’s worth your time.

Just being negligent

Being unprepared is bad, but it’s an entirely different thing from inviting fire into your workplace. We’re talking about instances where employees aren’t held accountable for being blatantly negligent and knowingly engaging in activities that can result in a fire. It could be leaving things too close to heating equipment. It could be an open flame that isn’t in the proper location or isn’t protected. It could be as simple as not following smoking restrictions and not disposing their butts in the right places.

There’s no replacement for common sense, self-awareness and adherence to policy. Hold your employees accountable for their behavior.

Fire prevention should always be considered part of everyone’s job in any work environment. Everyone needs to stay on their toes and pull their weight when it comes to following codes, being prepared and being responsible. Especially when working with dangerous chemicals, gasses or liquids – be sure to take safety seriously.

And of course- the best prevention – is proper education and training.

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