Those responsible for commercial premises have a duty of care and legal responsibility to put in place measures that reduce the risk of fire while ensuring the safety of those working there.
Fires need three things to take hold. There has to be a source of ignition, some fuel to burn, and finally oxygen. Whether it’s at home or on a commercial property, if these factors are present in close proximity, there’s always a potential for fire.
Leading Causes of Fire in Commercial Premises
According to government statistics, there were nearly 16,000 non-residential fires in England and Wales in 2018.
But what are the Leading Causes of Fire in Commercial Premises? Here, we take a closer look:
Faulty Electrical Equipment
One of the biggest challenges for commercial properties is that there is normally a lot of electrical equipment. Faulty plugs or wiring, old equipment or overloaded plug sockets and terminals can all increase the risk of fire.
Those responsible for commercial premises are required to ensure that electrical equipment is fit for purpose with regular PAT testing. Regular checks can make a huge difference to your risk of having an electrical fire.
Misuse of Equipment
Your electrical equipment may be just out of its packaging but if your staff aren’t using it properly then this could cause potential fire risks. An appliance that is covered when it needs to have airflow can overheat, for example. A heater placed too close to combustible material will also be a potential hazard. If you have a kitchen area and staff leave appliances on and then get distracted it can cause problems.
You should always make sure your staff know how to use equipment safely.
Combustible Waste Materials Onsite
Many business have combustibles onsite and that includes common materials like paper. If these aren’t disposed of or stored properly, they build up and present a hazard, especially if they are close to equipment that is likely to promote combustion.
If your business uses flammable liquids, storing these incorrectly can also create a hazard. Spillages might also lead to fires if mistakes are made while handling them.
In factory and warehouse settings, it’s easy for there to be a build up of dust and fine materials during daily operations. There may also be issues with grease accumulating around certain machinery. All these may cause a potential fire hazard if care is not taken. A piece of machinery might heat up, for example, and ignite small particles of dust, subsequently causing a fire.
Lack of training or just a moment of negligence can all to easily lead to a fire. A member of staff who isn’t aware of the health and safety issues may make a mistake and leave combustible material near a potential ignition source, for instance. Materials can be stored in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The truth is that most fires are preventable. Putting in the appropriate safety measures and ensuring your staff are trained and well-informed makes a huge difference. Testing equipment regularly to ensure it is fit for purpose will, for instance, reduce the risk of electrical fires.
Undertaking a fire risk assessment is vital, whether you are a factory or warehouse or an office in the middle of the city. This will help show that you have all the safety and precautionary measures in place to keep your business and your staff safe at all times or highlight areas where there needs to be improvement.
At FTS Safety Solutions we can provide a Fire Risk Assessment as well as Fixed Wire Testing, Portable Appliance Testing, Cable Management and even Thermal Imaging Surveys for operational critical areas like server rooms. Call us on 0330 6600264 or email [email protected]
Until Next Time… Stay Safe