Common Fire Hazards in the Workplace
Fire safety in the workplace is just as important as fire safety in your home. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that between 2007-2011, there were 3,340 reported fires in U.S. office properties. It’s good to know common fire hazards in the workplace to help reduce the chance of a fire starting. Here are the main causes of workplace fires, and safety precautions you and your coworkers can take to prevent them.
Dust slowly builds on surfaces like wood, metal 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.
Overloading power sockets is a common safety fire hazard that is often overlooked. Make sure that power strips are not overloaded because they could overheat. Additionally, a general rule of thumb is to turn off or unplug devices, like space heaters, when they are not being used.
Combustible materials, such as paper and cardboard, provide fuel for fires to spread. These items are likely stored in one place allowing fires to 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 and keep your work area tidy to ensure exits do not get blocked.
Even if you don’t work in a business that utilizes or stores high amounts of flammable liquids, the smallest amount of liquid can become a fire hazard 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 protection an open discussion can help prevent and reduce your company’s risk of a fire emergency.