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The most common fire hazards in commercial offices

The most common fire hazards in commercial offices

Fires can occur at any time at any place. So, it’s important to be aware of any potential hazards and to remove these hazards to prevent unnecessary fires within the workplace.

Whether you’re working in an older building or a modern purpose-built office, it’s extremely important to take the time to do a risk assessment. In doing so, you will prevent fire risks and potentially save lives.

We have pulled together a list of the most common fire hazards in commercial offices and how you can tackle them:

Electrical hazards

Extension cables

It’s very easy to overload an extension cable to get as much as you can out of one. Check how much it can handle before you start plugging in too many devices

Broken cables and exposed wires

Anything broken or exposed are asking for trouble. Remove the danger and reduce the risk of electrical sparks

Overheating

Machines that are left on can overheat if they’re not ventilated properly. Turn off machines when not in use where ever possible and allow space for around the machines to keep cool.

PAT testing

To ensure your equipment is up to the highest standards, regular PAT testing is advised, further protecting you against any electrical faults.

Exits and Evacuation

Keep fire doors closed

Fire doors should always be closed. Their role is to contain a fire for as long as possible to allow for people to escape. Keeping fire doors open is illegal and if found to be kept open can result in a fine or even imprisonment for breaching fire health and safety laws

Keep doors and doorways clear

Any door, and especially office fire doors, should always be kept clear. Time is of the essence in an evacuation and having a clear exit can be a matter of life and death

Remove obstacles

As with the above, any office equipment that doesn’t need to be piled up near an exit or within a corridor, should be removed. All routes in and out of the building need to be accessible at all times

Combustible materials

Paper; this is actually one of the best fuels for a fire and is likely to be rife within the office. Even as we look more towards a paperless environment, paper and cardboard is still very much common place. Recycle as often as possible and keep away from any source of heat

Dust; if the office isn’t properly ventilated, dust can build up on machinery and sometimes ignite if it gets too hot. Invest in decent extractor fans to help prevent this
Cleaning liquids; most cleaning equipment is highlight flammable and must be stored correctly. If you have cleaning staff, make sure both you and they know where they are storing these items when not in use to prevent any accidents

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