Keeping your workplace safe can be as simple as ensuring that all of your workforce is aware of the fire safety hazards and potential pitfalls that can be caused by poor fire risk management. Here are some of the most common fire safety hazards that can be encountered at the average workplace, but it should be kept in mind that each work environment is different, and specific safety procedures should be followed depending on circumstances.
When paper or cardboard items are disposed of wrongly, or even ignored entirely, they might provide the ideal fuel for a fire to start. Storing these combustible products in a single location can be disastrous for any company.
Ideally, you will want to keep good housekeeping throughout the workplace and ensure that cardboard and paper are disposed of correctly. Summer in particular can be a time of year when dry built up flammable materials are most likely to become a serious problem.
A build-up of combustible waste materials can be fuel for fire. Remember to remove any potential fire hazards and dispose of them correctly.
- Flammable liquids
Flammable liquids are some of the most common forms of potentially hazardous material that can be found at the workplace. Even smaller amounts of these substances can be dangerous, and the correct safety precautions should be taken. Cleaning fluids, engine oil, solvents, adhesives and chemicals can all potentially be found at workplaces and staff should be made aware of the potential issues they may pose.
Keep any flammable liquids separate by putting them in a lockable ventilated cabinet to reduce danger. This keeps them out of the way of any potential fire hazard.
It might not seem like an obvious one, but dust accumulated in warehouses or factories that work with wood, plastic and other materials can pose a fire safety hazard.
When materials are moved, handled, ground, and shaped, dust is produced. Abrasive blasting, cutting, crushing, mixing, sifting, and screening dry materials all produce dust. Dust can also be generated by the buildup of dry residue following the processing of moist materials.
Dust, even in small quantities can create a fire that will spread, particularly if they in the kind of environment where dust build-up is particularly common (workshops, factories, studios etc)
- Electronic equipment
Virtually every modern place of work is likely filled with electronic equipment, which all have the potential to be a serious risk. Even equipment as simple as a computer can overheat and therefore be a fire hazard.
Electronic equipment can cause electric shock and burns from contact with live parts, arcing injury and even fire from faulty electrical equipment or installations. There is also an increased risk of explosions produced by faulty electrical apparatus or static electricity igniting combustible vapours or dust, such as in a spray paint booth.
Electrical equipment and machinery can overheat even at the best of times, so it’s a good idea to keep all your electrical equipment ideally in a cool environment and dust-free. As mentioned in a previous point, dust buildup can be extremely dangerous under the wrong conditions, and particularly within electronic systems like servers and computers where they can get overheated in a small tight space.
- Overloading power sockets
Modern workplaces today have literally dozens of appliances – all potential hazards if not used properly, are maintained and tested from time to time. The problems/accidents often arise when these – otherwise completely safe – appliances are linked together and overload a socket: and here lies the origin of many potential fires.
It is of the utmost importance to take precautions to prevent this from happening. Understanding what we can and cannot do and what is safe will go a long way in preventing accidents both at home and at the workplace.
- Other combustible materials
There are a number of other materials that can be a serious hazard to your workplace. Basically, anything that generates heat or is in some way connected to a power source has the potential to be a safety risk.
For instance, consider if there is any petrol, paint thinners or heating fuels at your workplace. In warehouses, other materials such as packaging materials or food such as flour and sugar can also cause a fire hazard. It is essential to assess which materials could fuel a fire in the workplace and put in place safety measures to avoid any problems.
- Human error
All of the issues listed above can ultimately be put down to human error. If people are active and aware of the issues that can be faced in a work environment when it comes to fire safety then most of these problems are entirely avoidable.
Make sure all your staff are aware of any risks and know what to do in the event of a fire, conducting regular inspections, training and fire drills.
Prevention of fire safety hazards in the workplace
At 1st Attendance, we are leaders in staff fire safety training. Our Fire Awareness Training Course has been designed to help you stay safe in the workplace so that you are aware of all the risks and know exactly what to do in the event of a fire. Get in touch with us to ask any questions or book a training session.