5 common causes of fire in the workplace


Published: February 1, 2023

Fire safety in a workplace.

Fires in non-residential buildings account for the majority of fires that are attended by rescue services. These non-residential building fires are often recorded as workplace fires and with so many people at risk is it essential that the proper measures are taken to ensure workplaces are safe and the risks are reduced.

Here are 5 common causes of fire in the workplace and what you can do to ensure your workplace doesn’t become a statistic.

  • Faulty equipment
    This is a very common cause of fires in the workplace. It is often caused by defective electrics such as loose wires or faulty equipment that overheats. To prevent this, businesses must ensure that work equipment is regularly inspected and checked for any damage or faults.
Burnt electrical sockets..
  • Flammable/combustible materials
    Items such as paper, wood and cardboard could be considered combustible materials and must be managed appropriately. These materials could cause a small fire to escalate as they may act as fuel. Storing these materials appropriately and disposing of them correctly is one way that businesses can make work environments safer. 
Shredded paper..
  • Negligence and human error
    This is a major cause of fires in the workplace and can stem from improper use of machinery, overusing equipment, spilling flammable liquids or failing to follow health and safety guidelines. Making staff aware of the appropriate health and safety guidelines and providing refreshers about this where necessary will ensure that staff have the most up-to-date knowledge available to keep themselves and others safe.
Trying to use a fire extinguisher at work..
  • Clutter
    An untidy or disorganised work environment can be caused by a lack of cleaning or choosing to delay organising an area. However, this can lead to a build-up of dust and grease which can be a fire risk, particularly in unventilated areas. This could also lead to machinery and equipment overheating.
Messy desk..
  • Faulty fire detection equipment and alarms –
    Although not a direct fire risk, not inspecting, maintaining and servicing this equipment regularly can lead to large fires. With this equipment correctly working, businesses can be assured that they will be notified if a small fire were to break out which can then be tackled before it becomes uncontrollable.
Smoke alarm..

Some ways you can reduce the risk of fires in your workplace:

  • Provide staff with fire safety and prevention training
  • Regularly test all fire alarms
  • Keep a clean and tidy workplace
  • Keep risk assessment up-to-date
  • Regularly check electrical equipment to ensure it is in good condition

At ISE Fire, we can help you with many of these from booking a Fire Risk Assessment to Servicing your Fire Alarm System. Contact your local ISE Fire office today to book a fast and competitive quotation.

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