Most Common Causes of Fire in the Workplace
Over 25% of all fires are linked to a malfunction of either a piece of electrical equipment, wiring, or both. Electricity is a common source of ignition for major fires. One way to avoid problems with electrical fires is to establish an electrical safety program.
All employees should be thoroughly familiar with the safety procedures for their particular jobs. To maximize his or her own safety, an employee should always use tools and equipment properly. Extension cords must be inspected before use, and those found questionable, removed from service and properly tagged. Damage or inadequate maintenance can cause equipment to deteriorate, resulting in unsafe conditions.
Flammable and Combustible Materials
There are thousands of chemicals in use in the modern American workplace. One of the most prevalent dangers of these chemicals is their flammability or combustibility. Improper handling of flammable materials brings a great risk of fire. When a flammable liquid is spilled, vapors begin to form immediately. It is the vapors that will ignite, and which pose the greater danger.
Flammable liquid spill cleanup should begin immediately. Vapors will continue to build until the liquid is removed, and they can be ignited by a variety of sources in the average workplace. The best way to avoid fire caused by these materials is to follow all OSHA guidelines when dealing with flammables.
The most common reason for a sprinkler system failure is human error. Often times the water supply was turned off at the time of the fire. The success of fire prevention strategies depends primarily on pre-planning, preparation, equipment quality, and the readiness of personnel. Employees and loss prevention practitioners must be knowledgeable about the proper use of extinguishers. If the wrong extinguisher is used, a fire may become more serious.
Negligence is another common cause of fire in the workplace. It’s slightly different from fires caused by human error. Negligence occurs when an employee does not follow established procedures and knowingly undertakes an activity that is a potential fire hazard.
Fire caused by negligence can be the result of:
- Hot surfaces too close to heating equipment
- Open flame that’s not properly located or protected
- Not following smoking restrictions or careless disposal of butts, ashes, and matches
Good common sense, self awareness, and close adherence to policy are a great way to avoid fires caused by general negligence. Posting fire safety signs in common areas is another way to keep fire safety at top of mind.
The premise behind arson prevention, like other prevention programs, is to address the opportunity to commit the crime. Arsonists, like other criminals, typically prefer to start fires in locations that are secluded or hidden. Prevention programs often suggest improving the surveillance in these areas by lighting the area, removing visual obstructions to natural observation, and moving the targets such as dumpsters.
If your company, please call SERVPRO of Jamaica Plain/Roxbury (617) 466-6909 to assist you with the cleanup.