Avoiding the Biggest Workplace Fire Hazards
It’s not likely you think about the potential of a fire in your workplace. The reality is, regardless of the number of smoke alarm systems and fire extinguishers in your workplace, there’s always an inherent risk of a fire starting. Here are the main causes of workplace fires and what you and your coworkers can do to avoid them.
We’re all human and we all make mistakes, but proper fire safety education can make all the difference in the workplace. Fire safety should be an open conversation throughout your workplace in order to reduce risk. A general rule of thumb is to turn off or unplug devices, like space heaters, when they are not being used.
You may not consider dust a big fire hazard, but a build-up near a heat source could lead to a dust-induced fire. Dust slowly but steadily builds on surfaces like wood and plastic, often in hard-to-see places, and can become a fire hazard if left unmonitored. Machines that heat up such as computers, microwaves and cords should be maintained and kept clean of dust particles.
It’s easy for waste materials to build up, especially if they’re not properly thrown away. Combustible materials include things such as paper and cardboard, providing fuel for fires to spread. Because these things are likely all in one place, fires can spread quickly and have a devastating impact on the workplace. Make sure your office has a regular disposal system to take care of combustible materials.
Even if you don’t work in a business that utilizes or stores high amounts of flammable liquids, the smallest amount of liquid can burst into flames when improperly stored close to an ignition source. Any flammable liquids should be stored in a locked, ventilated cabinet to ensure they are nowhere near an ignition source.
While it’s always a good idea for your workplace to take fire precautions such as a smoke alarm system and portable fire escape ladder, making fire safety an open discussion can help prepare your company for unexpected situations.