Beware of These Office Fire Hazards
Many people think that a fire is unlikely to take place in their office. However, they are sadly mistaken. Statistics from NFPA’s 2013 report showed that from 2007 to 2011, there was an average of 3340 fires in office properties each year. This is devastating number, especially as all these fires could have been easily prevented. To help you fire-proof your office, here are some office fire hazards you should beware of.
Although offices do not contain oils, gases or naked flames, this does not mean that there is no fire risk. Offices are home to a surprising number of combustibles.
Many people are unaware that dust can ignite when the thing it is coating gets too hot. On top of preventing machines from overheating, it is recommended to keep office spaces well-ventilated to prevent the accumulation of dust.
There are hundreds of paper documents and binders lying around in every office, in cabinets, desks and waste paper baskets. It is best to keep these paper materials away from any heat sources and to empty out your waste paper baskets regularly.
- Cleaning liquids
People often forget about the cleaning liquids that cleaning staff use to maintain the cleanliness of an office. These cleaning liquids are highly flammable and need to be stored properly to prevent an accident.
It is not uncommon for fires to come from an electrical source. To prevent such a situation, here are the steps you can take.
- Keep machines from overheating
You can do this by ensuring that all machines are properly ventilated to allow them to cool down. It is also a good habit to turn off these machines every night.
- Remove broken cables
Leaving broken cables lying around the office is just asking for trouble. The moment there are sparks, an electrical fire is sure to break out.
- Don’t overload extension cables
Everyone loves to use extension cables. However, it is important to check how much an extension cable can take before you plug in too many machines.
- Get PAT testing
Having your PAT equipment inspected regularly will prevent any electrical faults that could lead to an electrical fire.
Don’t Block Exits
One of the most important things you need to do for a fire risk assessment is to ensure that all staff and visitors to your office can make a quick escape from the building in the event of a fire. Here is what you can do to maximise the chances of a safe exit.
- Keep fire doors closed
It may be tempting to keep the fire doors open in a stuffy office or to allow for easy entry. However, fire doors are designed to keep fires contained to buy enough time for people to escape. This means that they must never be pinned open.
- Keep doors clear
Never pile stocks or other belongings in front of doors. Doors must always be kept clear to allow for easy entry and exit in any emergency.
- Keep corridors clear
To allow everyone to leave the building as quickly and efficiently as possible, corridors must be kept clear. If there are piles of office paper or binders in an already small space, they will become obstacles that impede an escape.
Now that you are aware of the common office fire hazards, you can take the necessary steps to remove them to keep you and your staff safe.