The risk of fire is more significant in the workplace since it has the potential to cause higher fatality rate in a short space of time. First, you need to know that fire need three elements to start and spread. The elements are heat, oxygen and fuel. Fire is never usually started on its own. They are commonly caused by people’s action be it accidentally, carelessly or deliberately.
There are a lot of common misconceptions that fire won’t start in their workplace. However, this is not always the case. Here are some fire hazards that usually happens in the workplace:
1. Electrical equipment
In many cases, there will be obvious danger signs if electrical equipment is not fit for use, including damaged, frayed or taped leads, a smell of burning from a socket, unusual buzzing noises from an appliance and cracks in a plug, appliance or socket. Defective electrics such as loose wires, or faulty equipment can overheat and cause sparks.
The use of multipoint adapters and extension cables have their obvious practical uses. However, this should be a temporary solution, as they put great stress on socket outlets. If a faulty cable is found, report the problem and do not continue to use it. Faulty cables should be repaired by a professional and are not to be used until given the all clear.
3. Flammable and combustible materials
Flammable and combustible materials pose a hazard for fires in the workplace. These include flammable liquids, paint, chemicals and the build-up of rubbish. All materials that create a hazard in the workplace should be stored properly and disposed of correctly in order to prevent fires in the workplace.
Smoking is another common cause of fires happening in the workplace. Ninety-nine percent of the time this won’t cause any issues, but there’s always a chance of a stray spark landing on gasoline, paper, lint or some other source of tinder to create a fire. More often than not, this is due to the incorrect disposal of cigarettes and matches.
Whilst many may get alarmed when they hear that arson is a common cause of workplace fires, it is indeed a relatively frequent occurrence. Factories and industrial estates are particularly prone to vandals and fires can spread quickly from unit to unit if proper fire control features aren’t installed.
A common fire risk found in many workplaces is a lack of consistent cleaning, leaving the building untidy and cluttered. If the workplace is not cleaned regularly, the buildup of dust and grease can be a fire risk, especially if this occurs in poorly ventilated areas. Likewise, dirt and dust can build upon machinery and equipment and cause it to overheat, which could also cause a fire to start if left unattended.
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