What are the most common causes of fires in the workplace?

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Despite our best efforts when it comes to fire safety, a certain number of workplace fires in the UK are inevitable. In 2017, 15,815 fires were recorded in non-dwelling buildings. This is significantly less than 2014 (22,000), but still an alarmingly high number.

This month, Pyrotec will be taking a closer look at some of the most common causes of workplace fires and what can be done to stop them.

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Electrical faults

Of the 15,815 commercial fires mentioned above, 25% (nearly 4,000) of them were due to faulty electrical equipment. Whether it’s frayed wiring, overloaded extension leads or old equipment, faulty electricals can easily overheat, spark and cause a fire if left unchecked.

One of the best ways to combat electrical fires in the workplace is through PAT testing (Portable Appliance Testing) office electricals once a year. If an item passes, it’s then labelled and dated, ensuring that everyone in the building knows that item is safe to use.


Lack of staff training/negligence

Human error is something that all workplaces have to account for in one way or another, which is why proper staff training is so important to ensure that human error is minimised as far as possible.

In fact, a business is required to nominate a competent person (or persons) to uphold essential fire safety measures under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This competent person (or fire warden) is then responsible for maintaining fire safety standards and ensuring cooperation in the event of a building evacuation.

Pyrotec carries out fire warden and fire safety training for businesses throughout Brighton, Eastbourne and Crawley, so if you want to make sure your staff are properly educated about the risks in your office and how they can be avoided, give us a call.


Industry-specific combustible materials

Of those 15,815 fires, 2,112 of them started in industrial premises and 1,621 started in food and drink premises.

Industrial premises often store a number of flammable gases and liquids, and if these aren’t handled or looked after properly, accidents are bound to occur. Similarly, in premises with commercial kitchens, cooking oil fires can occur if the proper protocols aren’t adhered to, which is why it’s important to always ensure the right type of fire extinguisher is positioned in high-risk areas.



Despite the fact that most commercial environments have designated outdoor smoking areas, smokers’ materials still account for an incredibly high number of non-domestic fires. Whether it’s because cigarettes were smoked near flammable materials or they simply weren’t put out properly, there are a number of ways in which smoking can lead to a workplace fire.



In 2017, 4,564 fires (that’s close to a third of all commercial fires recorded) were caused deliberately. That number might seem abnormally high to some, but unfortunately arson is an issue that all commercial building managers have to deal with.

The best way to combat arson is to ensure that all flammable materials associated with your operations are locked away carefully. Also, having the proper deterrents installed, such as CCTV systems, will go a long way to putting off would-be arsonists.


Here at Pyrotec, we specialise in commercial fire safety for businesses across Brighton, Eastbourne and Crawley. We’re dedicated to saving lives and protecting property, so if you’re concerned about fire safety and would like us to carry out a risk assessment, or fire alarm and extinguisher installation, get in touch today or fill out our quick quote form.

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