Common Fire Hazards at Workplaces (And How to Deal with Them)

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According to the United States Fire Administration, around 16,500 commercial fires happened in the United States in 2020. These fires resulted in around $32 million in property damage to offices and stores, leading to many of them closing their operations permanently. Additionally, many employees and customers sustained major injuries in these fires, and some even lost their lives. A fire can have significant and long-term consequences for business facilities.

Companies end up dealing with severe financial loss, which can take them years to recover from. Additionally, the loss of lives or injuries due to workplace fires can be a traumatizing experience for the victims and their loved ones. Therefore, commercial fire protection services recommend taking various measures to minimize the risk of fire hazards at commercial facilities.

Here are some common fire hazards in the workplace and how companies can deal with them.

Electrical Equipment

One of the biggest causes of fire in the workplace is faulty electrical equipment. A large number of injuries and fire-related damage in the workplace is a result of installing faulty electrical equipment and not inspecting it regularly to ensure that it’s functioning properly.

Therefore, taking precautionary measures is advisable to prevent electrical equipment from becoming a hazard. Keep an eye out for any signs of defects in electrical equipment, like loose wires or damaged plugs. Additionally, you need to inspect them regularly to ensure that they meet all the safety requirements. It’s advisable to hire a commercial service provider for these regular checkups.

Improper Disposal of Cigarettes

Smoking in the workplace isn’t only a health hazard for non-smokers, but it can also lead to fires in the workplace. If cigarette butts aren’t disposed of properly, they can ignite, leading to a fire. However, that’s not all. Smoking near flammable materials in your office can also be a huge fire safety risk.

Many companies make the mistake of banning smoking altogether which results in employees sneaking off and smoking in hidden corners, which is a significant fire hazard, especially if the cigarette is left to burn on the ground. The ideal solution is to open a designated smoking spot in your workplace, allowing employees to get regular smoking breaks in a hazard-free space with proper cigarette disposable methods and no flammable items.

Buildup of Dust in the Building

Besides making your commercial facility look unclean and unmaintained, dust buildup can be a huge fire hazard. If your workplace constantly deals with processes that include wood, metal, and plastic pieces, the dust can build up, leading to small fire-inducing explosions.

 

This usually happens because enclosed spaces don’t have proper ventilation, which causes dust to stay on the same surface instead of leaving the premises with the help of air. The most effective way to prevent dust production and buildup from becoming a fire and safety risk is to ensure that you have local exhaust fans or a system of extraction fans that allow dust to be removed, keeping workers in factories or other industries safe.

Unsafe Practices

Like most kinds of accidents, a large number of fires are often a result of following unsafe practices in the workplace. Human error is a significant fire safety hazard. These include leaving any process unattended, especially one that involves heat generation, dust buildup, or electricity. Additionally, if workers use microwave ovens in the workplace and leave them unattended or warm up risky objects, it can lead to a fire-inducing explosion.

Spilling water over electrical equipment and improper use of various electrical devices can also lead to fires. Companies must provide regular training to employees and ensure they’re aware of fire safety practices. Additionally, if you spot any worker violating a fire safety guideline, you must take strict action to ensure that other employees avoid participating in such activities.

Improper Waste Disposal

It’s no secret that several workplaces have a buildup of hazardous waste material. From paper cups to discarded equipment, this waste material isn’t disposed of properly, which can lead to fires. If your workplace’s trash cans are always full, all it can take is a discarded cigarette butt to lead to ignition and a sudden fire breakout.

Therefore, companies need to invest in proper waste disposal and recycling solutions. Workplaces should have professionals who can spot combustible material and discard them separately from other waste. Additionally, it should be disposed of properly so it doesn’t result in a fire breakout while you’re getting rid of it.

Fire Safety Strategies That Don’t Work Properly

All companies have some fire safety strategies and devices to use if any unexpected fire breakouts happen. These solutions include having backdoor exits that allow people to vacate the building if a fire starts, fire prevention doors that prevent fire from spreading to other parts of the building, fire extinguishers that you can use to put out any ignition, and fire alarm systems that alert the entire building if a fire starts.

 

However, having these devices in your workplace can only make a difference if they function properly. It’s essential to get regular inspections to ensure that these solutions are in working order and won’t fail when you need them. Regular inspections also allow you to fix any issues in these fire safety solutions.

Want to Prevent Fire Hazards in the Workplace? Get Started with Facilities USA

If you want to decrease the risk of any incident in the workplace, it’s advisable to hire a commercial fire protection service that can analyze any safety risks and deal with them timely to prevent fires in the workplace. Facilities USA provides commercial fire suppression services to companies in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Their team does commercial fire extinguisher inspections and emergency light testing, as well as checking fire sprinkler systems and fire alarm solutions to ensure that these are working properly, allowing companies to be prepared for unexpected situations. These professionals also inspect electrical equipment and wiring and repair them, preventing fire hazards. Facilities USA is also known for providing commercial waste recycling services to restaurants, residential apartment complexes, retail stores, and many other businesses.

Get in touch with this commercial facilities solution provider and let them help you prevent fires in the workplace.

About the Author

This piece was contributed by a fire safety expert affiliated with Facilities USA. They guide companies about commercial fire protection services, helping them avoid fires by taking precautionary measures at the right time.

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