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How to prevent fire hazards in the workplace

schedule 3 months, 2 days ago by Ben Piper in Health and Safety

Building Fire Exit

Every year there are thousands of fires within the workplace, which makes it crucial for businesses to be compliant with fire legislation, as well as being aware of any potential hazards.

Did you know that every year in the UK there are 22,200 non-residential fires? And a large proportion of these occur within the workplace. While many of these fires do not cause harm to employees, there are fires that cause fatal injuries and death. This is why it is absolutely crucial for businesses to be compliant with fire legislation while being fully aware of the potential fire hazards in the workplace.

Because all working environments are varied in layout and style, it is the law that every business has a Fire Risk Assessment completed. In every office there will also be a fire warden to orchestrate an evacuation, should a fire occur.

However, it is also a good idea for all members of staff to be aware of potential fire hazards in the office so that they can look out and reduce the risk of an accidental fire. Here we take a look at ways to reduce hazards in your workplace.

Don’t overload power sockets

In every office, numerous computers, TV screens, internet cables, and adaptors create a need for extension leads and multiple plug sockets. However, overloading power sockets or using faulty extension leads can result in overheating and potentially a fire. This is a common cause of electrical fire, but it’s also easily avoided.

You can prevent this by using just one plug in each electrical socket. It is also a good idea to stay clear from using appliances that total more than 13 amps or 3000 watts across the whole socket.

Always test fire alarms

While this may sound like a given, it’s easy for companies to get caught up in business and forget to test their alarms. But of course having a fire alarm that doesn’t work is just as ineffective as not having one at all. You can make sure that you don’t forget about this by having a maintenance schedule and contract in place for your fire alarm system, so that it is regularly tested.

Keep fire exits clear

Because fire exits are used very infrequently, they can often become a place where items are stored. However, if a fire does occur even the smallest of items in these exits could make the difference between life and death as it stops workers from leaving the building as quickly as possible.

This is why it is crucial for businesses to ensure that all fire exits are free from clutter and are easily accessible.

Be cautious of where you store combustible material

In most offices, disposable paper and cardboard very quickly builds up. This type of combustible material is much more flammable than most substances and will fuel a fire should it occur, hence why it is important for it to be disposed of regularly.

A fire can be very easily started from combustible materials, with even the slightest source of ignition - like a cigarette butt - triggering a fire. The best solution to this is to avoid storing rubbish on site, or to at least make sure it is kept in a designated area away from main buildings.

Practice caution when smoking

Cigarettes that have not been discarded properly are often the cause of fires. If smoking is allowed on your premises, it is important that you provide your employees with a designated area, away from any flammable materials and main buildings.

You can also encourage staff that do smoke to be extra cautious, ensuring they put their cigarettes out properly, while providing special bins for cigarette disposal.


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Ben Piper - Virtual College

Author: Ben Piper

Ben is a member of the Virtual College marketing team. He has a degree in economics and writes about business and education issues. In his spare time he loves food, drink and films.

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