Fires in the workplace are more common than you might think. While home and apartment building fires often attract much attention, approximately 100,000 business fires occur annually, costing owners over $2 billion. About 52% of the largest business fires occur in establishments that either have no smoke detectors or smoke detectors that are not working properly.
With those facts in mind, here are some of the more common causes of fires in the workplace.
Faulty electrical equipment is one of the most common sources of workplace fires. Owners and employees should always look for things like loose cables, damaged plugs, and other defective equipment. All electrical devices should be inspected regularly to make sure they’re operating properly and not overheating.
Overloaded power sockets are an often overlooked fire hazard. Plugging too many pieces of equipment into the same socket, power supply, or into a faulty extension cord can easily lead to overheating and fire.
Even in businesses that don’t use large quantities of flammable liquids, small amounts can lead to a fire. Flammable materials should always be locked in a ventilated cabinet to prevent exposure to any ignition source.
Cooking accidents cause approximately 30% of office fires and slightly over 60% of restaurant fires. Many could be avoided by cleaning crumbs and grease from stoves, ovens, and toaster ovens. Anyone using an office kitchen or break room to prepare food should remain in the room until the food is ready to eat.
Dust and Powder
Dust and powder that have accumulated on or near equipment can easily become a fire hazard, especially in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation. For fire protection, exhaust fans should be installed in work areas where dust and powder accumulate. Any equipment that heats up should be kept free of dust and grease.
All of us are human, and we make mistakes. It might be forgetting to turn off equipment or accidentally turning off the water supply needed to put out a fire. Given that human error is often the cause of workplace fires, fire prevention and response training is essential. In addition, all safety equipment – including control units, smoke detectors, heat detectors, fire extinguishers, and initiating devices – should be in good working order.
Shockingly, not all workplace fires are accidental. One study reveals that in 2020 there were slightly over 3,000 deliberately set fires in commercial and storage facilities in the U.S. Having a CCTV system that monitors the workplace is one excellent way of discouraging potential arsonists. It’s also essential for workers to report any suspicious individuals or behavior.
Commercial Alarm Systems in Elk Grove Village and Surrounding Communities
SMG Security is a leading provider of commercial alarm systems, including NFPA 72 compliant fire alarms in the Chicagoland area. From the causes we have listed, fires often start accidentally and spread rapidly with devastating results. Installing a state-of-the-art alarm system is one of the best ways to protect your employees and your property.
We offer a full range of sales and service fire safety solutions, with an unwavering dedication to customer satisfaction. Whether you need a completely new system or improvements to your current system, we can help. Call SMG Security today for a free system inspection test, evaluation of code requirements, or consultation.