Hey, Fire Starter! Take Care of These 8 Office Fire Hazards Today
So, maybe calling you a fire starter is a bit harsh, but if you are responsible for managing an office, then you should know that only three things are needed for a fire to start: a source of ignition, fuel and oxygen. Take any of these things away and you have prevented a fire from starting. In retrospect, there’s several elements that can become office fire hazards.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, no worries, we’ve got you covered! Let’s start by identifying the sources of ignition and fuel in your office.
Here’s a quick rundown of eight office fire hazards staring you in the face every day:
- Cigarettes: smoking areas near flammable materials can easily cause a fire. Be sure to designate a smoking area away from buildings and flammable materials.
- Open Flames: some people like the smell of candles to freshen up their office space or cubical, or maybe you use open flame equipment in your business. Instruct employees to only use flameless candles, and train all employees on the proper use of any open flame equipment. Including this information in an employee handbook is also a great idea.
- Heaters: electric, oil or gas — heaters cause hundreds of fires every year. If heaters are used or allowed in your office, be sure they are working properly and unplugged or turned off when the business is closed. During cooler months, designate a staff member to do a quick check on heaters before closing up the office for the night.
- Cooking Equipment: misused or damaged microwaves, coffee makers, and stoves are a common cause of office fires. Regular maintenance and repairs help to ensure that your cooking equipment is in proper working condition.
- Overloaded Outlets: you should know the amount of power you are using in an outlet. Most electricians recommend not exceeding 1500 watts per circuit. Watch for signs of overloaded circuits like flickering lights, blown fuses, discolored cords, wall plates or cords that are warm to the touch or crackling or buzzing sounds coming from outlets.
- Faulty or Misused Electrical Equipment: keep electrical equipment in good working order and train employees on the proper use. All electrical equipment should be regularly checked and tested by an expert. Maintain a log to ensure routine maintenance and checkups occur.
- Lighting: check to ensure that halogen lamps or display lights aren’t kept too close to flammable objects.
- Poor Storage of Combustible Materials: be sure all flammable liquids and solvents are properly sealed and clean up any spills immediately. Store combustible materials properly and dispose of them according to regulations.
With so much to do and so little time, it’s easy to get distracted from the regular maintenance and policies that help to keep your office safe from fire hazards. It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security and become lax on proper fire safety procedures.
To prevent a tragedy, ensure that your office equipment is working properly, install working fire extinguishers, make sure all employees are trained on proper safety procedures, install fire alarms and make sure they are in working order, keep fire exits clear and fire doors closed.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends requiring a fire safety plan review with all new employees or when the plan is changed. OSHA also suggests that you provide for proper cleaning and maintenance of heat producing and electrical equipment.
For Phoenix-area businesses, OfficeGuardian can help by keeping your office equipment and systems in working order and provide preventive maintenance services, so you can run your business without being distracted by ANY facility maintenance issues. We believe that fire safety is extremely important, so we include annual servicing of fire extinguishers in all of our office warranty plans.
Now you know — only YOU can prevent office fires. Too much like Smokey Bear? Okay, but you get the point. Sound off in the comments below with your office fire safety tips or stories. I’d love to hear from you and if you found these tips useful, please give us a “like.”
OfficeGuardian offers a convenient commercial office warranty for Pro-Active Protection™ of Professional, Medical, Dental and Retail Business Suites and Office Condos.
For more information visit www.officewarranty.com.