Fires can devastate buildings, work places and lives in a matter of minutes, and can often mean the end for a business which has worked so hard to get where it is. Fire safety is one of the last things on your employees’ minds when they head to work, but with fires being so easy to start and so potentially dangerous, a bit of training and preparation is all you need to prevent the unthinkable from happening. Likewise, if the unthinkable does happen, your staff needs some basic knowledge on how to react to minimise the damage.
What is fire safety training?
Fire safety training teaches your employees how to react in the event of a fire in the workplace. Fire protection and evacuation procedures can quickly be forgotten during times of extreme stress. Fire safety training focuses on knowledge and practical experience which helps people retain the key facts and be able to deal with the fire effectively. Fire safety training does not only deal with how to act in the event of a fire, it also focuses on fire prevention and fire risk assessments. This is essential in order to minimise the chance of a fire occurring in the first place.
Major causes of fires in the workplace
It is certainly true that a fire can occur in any workplace, but it is also true that certain industries are more prone to fires and have a higher risk of fires occurring. So, what are the major causes of fires in the workplace?
- Faulty Electrics
Faulty electrics is the biggest cause of fires in the workplace. Faulty appliances, loose wiring, or overloaded sockets are all high-risk factors. Minimise the chances of a fire occurring by ensuring your staff are up to speed with their electrical fire safety procedures. Also ensure that your electrical appliances are checked each year.
- Combustible Materials
Work environments that contain flammable liquids or gasses, produce a lot of dust, or work with hot materials and appliances, are very high risk and require specialised fire safety risk assessment and training. Paper, cardboard and wood are also counted as combustible material and need to be stored and disposed of correctly.
- Untidy and unclean environment
Cleaning your workplace is essential, not just so it looks nice but also to prevent a fire risk from occurring. Poor ventilation and a build-up of grease and dust will increase the risk of fire in your workplace. If you use machinery it is important to keep it clean, as left-over dirt and dust can cause machinery to overheat and become a potential fire hazard.
- Human Negligence
Accidents or negligence causing fires in the workplace is a common occurrence, and highlights the importance of fire safety training for your staff. Whether it’s leaving appliances on, burning food, not disposing of cigarettes, or not informing the correct person about faulty machinery, there are many factors which can lead to a fire risk. The correct fire prevention training will help to minimise these risks.
Another common factor in workplace fires is arson. Prevention is obviously quite difficult in these cases, but putting deterrents in place such as CCTV, fencing, and security lighting can help minimise the risk. Having fire sprinklers in place will help to minimise any damage, should the unthinkable happen.
Employers and commercial property owners have a legal obligation to ensure that their workforce is well trained and up to speed in fire safety. To find out what steps you can take to protect your business and your workforce, get in touch with JCH Safety.