There isn't much discussion about fire damage in the workplace. However, this is important because, according to statistics, over 481, 500 structure fires occur in business settings in the United States each year. Fire safety in the workplace is of the utmost importance in any property and this comes with knowing the causes of fire in the workplace. Read on to learn the most common causes of fire in the workplace as well as steps to prevent business fire damage.
Common Causes of Fire Damage in the Workplace
There are many factors to consider why there are some sudden fire explosions or happenings in your business. Below are the most common causes of workplace fires.
1. Faulty Electrical Equipment
Electrical fires are one of the most common causes of fire in the workplace. Most businesses conduct their operations with the use of computers and other electronics, making a building susceptible to workplace fire. Faulty electrical equipment presents a fire hazard in the workplace. Fires can start with loose wires, overloaded plugs, and faulty connections, which cause overheating, sparks, and can light up the entire room.
2. Heating and Cooking Equipment
Most commercial fires, like home structure fires, begin in the kitchen. Since cooking equipment is necessary for all businesses, you never know when an accident will occur. Cooking equipment is susceptible to catching fire because it can accumulate oil and grease, which if in contact with a heating system, can cause sparks. Leaving cooking unattended in the workplace is another cause of the business fire.
On the other hand, since heating devices are somehow necessary for businesses in cold climates, fire is a high risk. If not properly maintained, the heating devices can overheat or catch fire if placed near combustible materials.
3. Flammable and combustible materials
Some businesses don't have a proper protocol for storing items, especially flammable liquid. Improper storage may lead to workplace fires, particularly in commercial settings where equipment that can cause sparks have been used. Additionally, combustible materials like paper, cardboard, and wood can contribute a significant amount of fuel to the fire.
4. Human Error
Fire accidents happen at any time, especially in a workplace where fire safety training is not conducted. Fire damage in the workplace may occur due to a lack of staff training or workers unaware of fire safety protocols. Additionally, in some cases, employees don't know how to use the work equipment or fail to report if there is something wrong with the devices.
5. Lack of fire safety resources and equipment
Common causes of fire in the workplace are a lack of fire safety equipment like fire alarms, fire extinguishers, proper fire exits, smoke alarms, and fire sprinkler systems. It might be surprising for some, but many businesses continue to neglect this step even if it's necessary.
In some cases, businesses have all of the required fire safety equipment. But the problem is they are defective. Smoke and fire alarms don't have a battery, fire escapes are too narrow to use, and extinguishers are either not appropriate to use or have reached their usage limit.
Although this does not happen very often, there is always the risk of an intentional fire in the workplace. According to NFPA, 19 % of structural fires reported are due to arson. It might seem paranoid or insane, but it occurs in some companies.
Tips on How to Prevent Fire in the Workplace
- Fire safety equipment should be accessible to the public.
- The fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and fire exits should be available to use.
- Only smoke in the designated area or smoke outside the building.
- Maintain cleanliness in the workplace.
- Learn to store and dispose of flammable materials and chemicals in the proper places.
- Reduce the possibility of overheating by using the electrical equipment properly and limiting the power outlets.
- Place a protective sleeve for wirings, or replace it if it shows signs of damage.
- Ensure to exercise caution with heat sources.
- Maintain any machinery and equipment that you use at the workplace and fix the damage immediately.
- Install effective fire and smoke alarms.
- Regularly test the fire alarms.
- To avoid human error, train the staff on how to use the equipment properly.
- Inform the employees about the proper fire safety protocols.
- Install CCTV cameras in all corners of the workplace to monitor the employees.
- Make sure to keep the clutter to an absolute minimum to avoid any dust and grease buildups.
- Place and check fire extinguishers.
- Install sprinklers in every room in the workplace.
- Conduct annual fire risk assessments and fire drills.
- Make a fire prevention plan annually.
- Check for hazards regularly to ensure the workplace is safe.
Professional Fire Damage Cleaning and Restoration Services
In case of a sudden fire in a workplace, immediately evacuate the area and call 911. Stay in safe places and wait for professionals to arrive. In case your building suffers fire damage, contact a fire damage restoration company, like Superior Restoration, immediately. They will handle both cleanup and restoration services.
Superior Restoration is the leading restoration company that provides quality fire damage restoration services. We also offer 24/7 emergency restoration services. Contact us today for your property restoration needs.