There are dangers all around the workplace, ranging from unread emails, the risk of boring water-cooler conversations, and Phil from accounting. However, although you can survive the mind-numbing small talk while you hydrate, or Phil’s weird jokes, there are some hazards that are a little more threatening, such as fire.
Unfortunately, workplace fires are not as uncommon as people would like, and that’s because far too many people aren’t aware of the biggest fire-hazard risks that exist in the standard workplace. Knowing the threats and what to avoid and look out for can help make every workplace safer, so here are some of the biggest fire hazards in the workplace.
Many offices and workplaces have a high volume of materials such as paper and cardboard, and it’s these items that are the most risky, as they are easily combustible and can help fuel a ravaging fire.
It’s important to deal with these items responsibily. It is best to avoid a massive pile-up, as gathering all these pieces in one place can lead to a concentrated inferno that can devastate any workplace and the building that houses it. It is safest to have a clear disposal plan, and to make sure combustible rubbish is kept in locked areas away from main buildings and potential sources of ignition. Professional inspections from a fire protection company will help you evaluate the risk of a fire and help your company deploy better protective and preventative measures.
The amount of flammable liquids in a workplace will vary from office to office, but it can still be expected that at least a small number of cleaning products and other flammable substances will be present. It only takes a small amount of flammable liquid to cause a fire, as they can ignite at the slightest contact with a source of ignition. These liquids need to be stored responsibly, and that includes locking them in well-ventilated cabinets and not storing them with any other fire hazards.
Perhaps surprising to some, but dust is one of the leading causes of a fire breaking out in workplaces that aren’t properly ventilated. This is a significant hazard in factories or work environments that use heavy machinery, as wood, plastic, or other particles can gather in equipment and cause it to breakdown, overheat, or even explode. These dust particles can easily combust if made hot enough, so it’s important to keep machinery free of dust and grime and to use extractor fans, which can suck up the dust and get rid of it.
Human stupidity is perhaps the most common reason for fires starting. The best way to combat staff making critical mistakes such as placing combustible items together or throwing cigarettes into general waste bins is to provide staff training, so that they’re in tune with what’s expected of them and what they shouldn’t be doing. Learning the correct procedures can go a long way in limiting human error.
A lot of equipment gets hot when being used for a long time. Items such as printers, radiators, and even the humble desktop computer can reach substantial temperatures. That’s why it’s important to turn off equipment when it’s not in use so that it’s not overheating; and to avoid covering them, as this can cause it to get even hotter and ignite whatever’s covering it.