Workplace fires are more common than some may realise. Even worse, they are often the cause of a mistake that could have been prevented. Damage and destruction to property resulting from workplace fire may cost thousands of dollars and result in injury or death to employees. Often, businesses never fully recover from a fire.
It’s important all businesses are aware of the most common causes of a workplace fires and take the necessary steps to protect their staff, premises and business from harm. With the right precautions and training, many workplace fires can be avoided.
The 3 most common causes of fires in the workplace are:
Electrical faults are the most common cause of fires in home and office buildings. Electrical incidents injure or kill more than 800 Victorians every year, with ~75 involving children at home. Electrical faults can lead to electric shock and fires. Loose wires, broken plugs, overloaded sockets and faulty equipment- all of which carry a source of ignition. Each workplace should conduct regular inspections and ensure all electronics are maintained and do not pose a risk of fire.
There are also thousands of chemicals in use in the modern Australian workplace. Many of these chemicals are flammable, so their improper handling may bring the risk of a fire. When a flammable liquid is spilt, vapours begin to form, and it is those vapours that will ignite. For this reason, flammable liquids should be cleaned up immediately or vapours will continue to build.
The last and perhaps the most avoidable cause of workplace fires is human error. A staff member mistakenly leaving an appliance on could be the cause of a fire. Even using the wrong type of fire extinguisher may make the fire more serious. Employees must be educated in the fire safety of their building with routine training conducted by fire safety experts. To create a workplace culture of fire safety, staff must be committed to repeated training.
Fire prevention should be considered a part of everyone’s job. This begins with knowledge and training and ends with common sense and self-awareness. Stay fire safe!