Understanding the most common causes of workplace fire incidents is the first step to preventing them from happening. According to the national statistics for the UK, provided by the Home Office at the end of March 2020, instances of fire in the workplace have increased 6 times in the last decade. So, let’s take a look at the top 5 causes of fires in the workplace below:
- Human mistake
Starting a fire by accident is something that can happen to anyone. From burning a slice of bread in the toaster to starting a fire while cooking your lunch in the microwave, there are plenty of ordinary actions that can result in a dangerous fire incident at the workplace. Statistics show that over 22% of fires in non-residential buildings are caused either by misuse of equipment or appliances, or by careless handling of fire or hot substances.
Fire Prevention Tip: A comprehensive health and safety brief should be given to all employees as soon as they start working in the business. Also, performing regular fire evacuation drills and sending out monthly fire safety newsletters are both considered good practices. And last but not least, don’t underestimate human interaction. Simply talking to your co-workers and giving them friendly advice when you see them engaging in potentially dangerous behaviour could prevent a disaster.
- Faulty equipment
Tech goes out of order sooner or later and sometimes, it can cause serious damage. Incidents originating from faulty equipment make up 17% of all workplace fires since 2010. Technical issues with electric kettles, dishwashers, copiers, printers or even your PC are all on the list of common causes of fire in the workplace.
Fire Prevention Tip: Regular maintenance checks may sound like a tedious task but they’re an easy and stress-free way of preventing some of the worst fire incidents at work. Make sure to schedule those in advance – better safe than sorry!
- Placing items too close to heat
Setting out the right layout for your workplace is not just about aesthetics. Between 2010 and 2020, a staggering 14% of all workplace fires in the UK have been attributed to simply placing items too close to heat. The source of such incidents can vary from vehicle exhausts to welding materials, washing machines or even candles and spot lights.
Fire Prevention Tip: Fire risk assessments are required by law – make sure to address any issues raised during the assessment as soon as possible; it could help prevent a serious fire incident.
- Deliberate fires
Arson may not seem like something that’s likely to happen to you and your business, and it probably isn’t. However, it’s worth noting that more than 8% of non-residential fires in the last ten years have been started deliberately.
Fire Prevention Tip: You may not be able to predict and prevent malicious intent itself, however, you can spot and contain a fire before it gets out of control. Of course, the first step to keep your building and your staff safe is choosing the right fire alarm.
Even though smoking stats show that the number of Brits who regularly light up a cigarette has been on a steady decline in the last decade, incidents related to smoking still constitute nearly 6% of all workplace fires since 2010. Cigarette lighters, matches and smoking materials have all been listed as primary sources of these fire incidents.
Fire Prevention Tip: Implement a strict smoking policy in the workplace and make sure that there is a safe, designated smoking area for employees to use.
Hundreds of workplace fire incidents happen every year in the UK and, as you can see, the fire statistics in the UK clearly show that the most common causes of fire in the workplace are quite simple and often easily avoidable. So, take the first step to securing your workplace by ensuring you are protected with a top quality fire safety system.