The Common Causes of Workplace Fires

The causes of workplace firesDay laborers must always keep safety in mind when working their blue collar job. Not only do they have to protect themselves from injuries such as slip and falls, they also have to be wary of workplace fires. Here are the five common causes of this workplace hazard (plus how to prevent them).

Electrical Equipment

While electrical equipment like power drills and floor cleaners make a day laborer’s job a lot easier, they’re also a common cause of workplace fires. Even the most innocent looking equipment can be a big fire hazard. Faulty wiring, friction between worn parts, and overheating due to extended use are just a few reasons why electrical equipment can malfunction. All it takes is a spark to ignite the machine itself or any flammable materials around it.

How to Prevent It:

The first step to preventing any safety hazard is being aware of how and why it happens. When it comes to preventing a workplace fire caused by electrical equipment, proper maintenance is key. Any machinery, as well as the area around them, should be free of any dirt, grease or other flammable substances. Worn parts should promptly be replaced and equipment should be unplugged and/or powered down after each use.  It’s also a good idea not to overload electrical equipment.

Flammable Liquids

Gasoline, commercial cleaners, and paint thinners are a few of the workplace liquids that can be classified as flammable. Any substance that emits vapors that can catch fire or worse, combust, pose a big workplace fire safety risk. Like electrical equipment, one spark can set these chemicals on fire and endanger everyone working around them.

How to Prevent It:

Flammable liquids must be handled with the upmost care and according to safety rules. That means storing them in their designated areas, using them in well-ventilated areas, and keeping them away from anything that could produce a spark.  It’s also important to follow proper clean-up procedures should these liquids spill and to always wear the proper gear when handling these flammable chemicals.

Combustible Dust

You wouldn’t think that something as small as dust from wood or cornstarch could be dangerous. However, under the right circumstances, these particles can combust and cause major fire damage in the workplace. After an initial explosion, the dust becomes airborne and cause an even bigger workplace fire — one that can bring down buildings.

Click here to learn more about combustible dust.

How to Prevent It:

Because this dust accumulates on flat surfaces and machinery, keeping these areas clean is important to preventing a workplace fire. Use a specialized vacuum to clean it up instead of brooms or air hoses that can just spread the dust around. Making sure the work area is properly ventilated is another way to prevent combustible dust from causing a workplace fire.

 

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