Office Fires: 5 Common Hazards
There are three certainties of life in any office: emails, tea rounds and fire drills. That last one is a great way to minimise the risks associated with evacuating an office quickly and safely. However, this is where fire safety training usually stops.
It is rare for offices to undertake training in how we can reduce fire risks in the first place. After all, if there’s no fire, there’s no reason to evacuate. To help minimise fire risks in your premises, here are our 5 most common fire hazards you will find in the office.
1. Plug sockets and extension cables
Socket and extension cable fires are typically caused by overloading. This is when many appliances are plugged into a single socket using extension equipment. This draws too much power through the socket causing it to overheat. Faulty extension cables, that are unprotected against power surges, have the same effect.
2. Faulty wires
Needless to say, exposed wires carry the risk of electric shock. They can also cause sparks which are capable of igniting fires in the dry atmosphere of an office. Inspect your own wires regularly to find any that are broken, exposed or worn.
3. Human fault
‘To err is human’ but to repeat the same mistakes of others is careless. Many office fires start because cooking appliances are left unattended, electrical equipment is used improperly, wires are tripped over and drinks are spilt.
4. Cluttered office space
Desks filled with sticky notes, photos, papers, tissues and cards are what a firefighter would call ‘fire loaded’. This means that a large or unnecessary amount of combustible materials is kept there and is of high risk. On top of this is inconsistent cleaning which leads to a build up of dust and grease which can further increase the chances of electricals overheating.
Portable electric heaters can increase the risk of fires. Each type is as dangerous as the next: space heaters, fan heaters and oil radiators. To minimise the risk, plug heaters directly into a wall socket (not an extension cable), position the heater 3 feet away from any object, don’t leave the heater unattended and check that the appliance is certified by an independent testing body before using or purchasing it.
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