Common Fire Hazards in the Workplace
SERVPRO of North Cabarrus County & China Grove (704) 939-1944
Every year fires break out in workplaces across the country resulting in serious damage to property and even injury and death. In the UK each year there are around 25,000 non-residential fires reported, with a significant proportion of these fires occurring in the workplace.
There are a variety of reasons why these fires break out, although many are due to negligence and could be prevented with more care and attention. One of the best ways to protect your business against fire is to educate your staff on the causes of fire and encourage them to be vigilant and report any potential fire hazards, so that they can be dealt with swiftly.
Although each working environment is different, here are some common workplace fire hazards that you should look out for and how to reduce the risk of them causing a fire.
Waste and combustible material being stored on site
In many workplaces, in particular offices, there can be a build-up of waste such as paper, cardboard and other combustible materials. If this is not disposed of regularly, it provides plenty of fuel for any potential fires should they break out. All it takes is a source of ignition, for example a discarded cigarette to set this alight and it could result in a fire that burns rapidly.
For this reason you should avoid storing rubbish on site is possible, or if you must – make sure it is in a designated area, away from main buildings and any potential sources of ignition.
Flammable liquids and vapours
This may be more of a threat in some types of workplace than others. Those particularly at risk include industrial warehouses and factories where there may be large amounts of flammable liquids and vapours stored. This can also cover anywhere that these materials are present such as garages, hotels and kitchens. Flammable liquids can ignite instantly when they come into contact with a spark or naked flame. Vapours are also particularly dangerous as they spread out, carrying the risk of an explosion with devastating consequences.
To reduce the risk of a fire, always ensure that flammable liquid and solvent containers are sealed properly and if any spills do happen, they are cleaned up immediately.
Dust and powder from wood, plastic and metal operations can cause explosions in enclosed spaces if there is no proper ventilation. Extraction fans should be installed in places where there is a risk of dust in the air, for example in environments such as mines and factories. Equipment and machinery that heats up when used should also be kept clean and free of grease and dust so that this does not burn, starting a fire.
Objects that generate heat
Heat is one of the vital ingredients of fire. Some electrical equipment and machinery warms up when used providing the potential for a fire to start. Make sure you keep combustible materials such as paper away from heat sources and remember to unplug any equipment that is not being used if possible. Never leave any electrical equipment or machinery on overnight unless it is necessary.
Faulty electrical equipment
Fires caused by electrical equipment are one of the most common types of fire in the workplace. Look out for any signs of loose cabling, damaged plugs and replace any faulty equipment. All electrical equipment should be regularly checked and PAT tested by an expert.
Overloading power sockets
This is a fairly common cause of electrical fires but it is one that is easily avoided. If too many appliances are plugged into the same socket or if faulty extension cords are used, this can result in overheating and potentially a fire. Always make sure that you use one plug in each socket and don’t use appliances that total more than 13amps or 3000 watts across the whole socket.
Discarded cigarettes can cause fires if not put out and disposed of properly. Smoking can be especially hazardous if it is allowed to take place near areas where flammable materials are present. Therefore a designated smoking area should be allocated in your workplace away from main buildings and flammables. Staff should also be encouraged to make sure that any cigarettes are put out properly and to use specially provided bins for their cigarettes.
Human error and negligence
It has to be said that one of the most common causes of fires in the workplace is human error. Fires can occur as a result of negligence in a variety of different ways including improper use of equipment, accidents, drinks being spilt over electrical equipment and leaving cooking unattended.
Although you cannot completely remove the human error factor, through proper training you can take steps to reduce it by providing effective training and guidance for your staff advising on best fire safety practice.
If the worst does happen and a fire starts, having fire fighting equipment on site such asfire extinguishers, blankets and hose reels are vital for bringing fires under control. However you should use caution and make sure that all staff are trained to use the correcttype of fire extinguisher.
COMMERCIAL WATER DAMAGE RESTORATION
SERVPRO of North Cabarrus County & China Grove offers 24/7 emergency water damage restoration services.
When your facility faces water damage, it’s best to seek immediate professional help. The longer water stays in your building, the more extensive the damage and the more expensive the restoration costs will be. To help get you back to business fast, SERVPRO of North Cabarrus County & China Grove offers 24/7 emergency water damage restoration services.
To minimize the damage done to your building’s floors, drywall, insulation, ceilings, and contents, SERVPRO of North Cabarrus County & China Grove mobilizes as soon as we receive your call. Upon arrival, our certified water damage restoration professionals will quickly, completely, and discretely restore your facility.
Although every instance of commercial water damage is unique, there are several common causes that we have noticed throughout the years including:
- Broken Pipes
- Frozen Pipes
- Leaky Pipes
- Sink Overflow
- Toilet Overflow
- Sewage Backup
If your building experiences any of these issues, we advise taking the following important emergency steps:Avoid hazards: electricity in contact with water, slippery floors, unsanitary water, and unsafe structures.Locate and stop water source.Remove furniture or place plastic under furniture legs to prevent permanent stain or rust. Remove any wet contents.Call SERVPRO of North Cabarrus County & China Grove to arrange for an inspection and to begin water extraction as soon as possible to minimize damage.
Three Solutions to Emergencies You Might Not Know
Your SERVPRO of North Cabarrus County & China Grove team has your back when emergencies happen.
Sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, accidents happen. Toilets and sinks overflow, sprinklers are broken or go off accidentally, and other various damage can occur in your building.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Water Is Running in the Sink or Bathtub – If you have an overflowing sink or bathtub due to a clog, taking quick action is essential. Water damage is a serious problem that can cause mold growth, warped wood, and ruined carpet within a day or two, especially if the water is left untouched. Turn off the faucet and begin removing as much of the water and residual moisture as possible. Next, call the experts to handle the cleanup. When a sink or bathtub overflows, you’re left with contaminated water that could contain bacteria and viruses, along with traces of food, grease, dirt, and hair. What you might not know is that if you remove any affected building material (or have your emergency cleanup experts do it), you can avoid long-term issues that could affect indoor air quality.
There’s Water Damage From the Sprinkler System – While your facility’s sprinkler system is an excellent defense against unforeseen fires, it can often leave a wet mess behind, especially when there is no fire to extinguish. Whether a chef in your restaurant’s kitchen has caused the sprinklers to go off due to cooking issues or a tenant hangs heavy items from the system, you could easily be left with a watery mess in an instant. Sprinklers can cause damage not just to your floors but also to your facility’s drywall, carpeting, and other materials. What you might not know is that some sprinkler systems have chemicals in the water or suppressants that require special treatment during remediation or require removal of affected items.
The Toilet Overflows Due to a Preventable Clog – Sometimes guests will flush inappropriate items down the toilet such as diapers, clothes, tampons, and more. When this happens, your toilet will eventually clog and can cause a massive overflow of what we call “black water.” This type of water is specifically contaminated with human waste and could cause a huge health risk if you or others come in contact with it. If you find yourself with an overflowing toilet, call the professionals right away to let them properly handle the contaminated water. What you might not realize is this is something that your commercial property insurance policy covers, so you should call your agent as soon as the incident occurs to discuss the damage and whether it makes sense to file a claim.
Unexpected things are going to happen. Your SERVPRO of North Cabarrus County & China Grove team has your back when emergencies happen.
SERVPRO of North Cabarrus County & China Grove is ready to respond immediately and work quickly to clean or restore your business. We understand that your property’s appearance is important and that every hour spent restoring is an hour of lost productivity. When you need a restoration or cleaning professional, SERVPRO of North Cabarrus County & China Grove has the training and expertise to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
- Small Office Buildings
- Large Office/High-Rise Office Buildings
- Apartment Buildings
- Small Retail Stores
- Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
- High-Rise Residential
- Manufacturing & Industrial
Have Questions? Call North Cabarrus County & China Grove today. 704-939-1944.
When it comes to commercial and residential restoration services, SERVPRO is a leader in the industry. Available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.