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10 Common Causes of Workplace Fires

10 Common Causes of Workplace Fires

A fire in any scenario is a serious event and can be incredibly difficult to rectify once the fire has been put out. However, a fire in the workplace can be devastating for any type of business, whether it’s a small family-run business or a well-established large company.

Whilst there are situations where a fire in the workplace occurred without explanation, human error, a lack of fire safety equipment and mismanagement of combustible materials are common causes of workplace fires.

Being able to avoid these common causes and having a fire risk assessment that outlines potential issues and a plan to manage them is the best way to prevent workplace fires.

The specialists at Rainbow International have created the perfect guide your workplace needs to be able to improve fire safety within your business, covering all the information you need:

  • What are the common causes of workplace fires?
    – Flammable materials
    – Faulty fire detection alarms
    – Negligence and human error
    – Heating in the workplace
    – Defective electrical equipment
    – Untidy workplace
    – Combustibles on site
    – Smoking
    – Arson attack
    – Staff kitchen cooking equipment
  • The consequences of a fire in the workplace
  • How to prevent a fire in the workplace
  • How Rainbow International can help

What are the Common Causes of Workplace Fires?

Fires in the workplace can occur due to a number of factors, and only by being aware of the common causes of workplace fires can you put into action the changes needed to prevent them. Find out the common causes below, and see if there are any in your business you need to include within your next fire risk assessment.

Flammable Materials

Depending on the type of workplace you’re in will depend on the type of flammable materials you’re working around. Retail stores have plenty of products that are on the shelves and flammable, whilst car workshops have gasoline and car parts that can catch alight quickly.

When there are a lot of flammable materials in and around a workplace, they must be properly stored and managed. Mismanagement of them is what causes them to be such a common cause of workplace fires.

Faulty Fire Detection Alarms

Fire detection alarms are a workplace’s first barrier to a fire spreading throughout the workplace. They are often the first way a business will be alerted to the presence of a fire, so a faulty alarm will immediately put a workplace at a higher risk of fire spreading.

Catching fire at the early stages can save lives, devastation and the business itself, so having these alarms maintained is essential.

Negligence & Human Error

Human error is hard to avoid, but negligence is easily preventable with correct attitudes, checklists and procedures.

These two factors are common causes of workplace fires as without a responsible person handling fire risk assessments and overall maintenance of fire prevention methods, the risk is exponentially higher, causing these two factors to be the result of many workplace fires.

Heating in the Workplace

A lack of maintenance of any type of heat source in a workplace can pose a serious risk of fire during the winter.

As the seasons change, the heating elements are put under more extreme temperature fluctuations and can malfunction if they’ve not been maintained properly throughout the year. As a result, heating is a common cause of fire in the workplace and must be reviewed accordingly.

Defective Electrical Equipment

Electrical equipment is also in need of regular maintenance, or else a workplace runs the risk of electrical fires due to defective electrical components within appliances and equipment.

Inspecting them for damage and repairing them as soon as it’s found is the best way to avoiding electrical equipment from overheating or sparking – a common way for a fire to begin within a workplace.

Untidy Workplace

Any fire risk assessment will highlight those clear passageways and properly maintained workplaces are important to improving fire safety.

An untidy workplace can heighten the risk of a fire in the workplace due to the potential for the fire to catch and spread more quickly between items, along with the chances of clutter building up dirt, grease and dust which are all fuel for a fire.

Combustibles on Site

It might seem obvious that combustible materials will cause a fire, but for workplaces that haven’t controlled them, they are a common cause of a workplace fire.

They can easily build up on the floors or workspaces and will provide plenty of fuel to a small fire that can then grow to be large and unmanageable, causing it to spread and become devastating.


Any spark, ember or flame can easily become a large fire if not managed properly. Smoking has all three of these factors and can cause a fire due to the elements around a smoking area such as litter and leaves. This can then spread to the workplace itself, leaving smoking to be a common cause of workplace fires.

Arson Attack

Unfortunately, arson attacks are a threat to businesses and their workplaces. Having the right type of fire prevention systems in place can reduce the overall spread of the fire, as well as the risk to the people within the workplace.

Staff Kitchen Cooking Equipment

Live flames, grease build up and a higher risk of electrical faults can lead to raging fires in seconds within a staff kitchen in the workplace.

Maintaining cooking equipment is vital to avoid this, especially deep fat fryers and open flame grills. They are more likely to be the cause of a workplace fire and need to be maintained accordingly.

What are the Consequences of a Fire in the Workplace?

The consequences of a fire in the workplace can be physically, mentally and financially devastating, causing losses of all three to ruin lives and businesses.

  • Cost – The repairs to the property and the equipment can be staggering, along with the fire restoration costs from specialists. Get in touch with your insurer as soon as possible to avoid this.
  • Property/Stock damage – Fire leaves behind devastation to whatever it touches, which can leave a business with no stock to use or sell and no property to function out of.
  • Valuable info – Any business data held on the premises can be destroyed by fire and put a company in a difficult position when it comes to managing any aspect ruined by fire.
  • Business operation – Without a premises to work from, a business may have to put all proceedings on hold, causing financial loss and potential job losses.
  • Smoke inhalation – This can cause severe health issues and long-term damage to a person who has been exposed to smoke.
  • Severe injury or death – A fire is a deadly scenario and can leave employees and customers at risk of suffering a severe injury or potentially dying.
  • No insurance payout – If the fire safety legislation recommendations and requirements are found to not have been followed, the insurance has grounds to invalidate the claim.
  • Business reputation – A potential customer becoming aware of your business through finding out about a fire can spread a bad reputation and impact future successes.
  • Damage to the environment – The surrounding environment can also be harmed by the fire in the workplace, hurting trees, wildlife and other structures.

How To Prevent a Fire in the Workplace

Unfortunately, workplaces are always at risk of a fire. However, there are steps business owners can take to prevent a fire in the workplace and keep their employees and customers safe.

Rainbow International’s specialists have highlighted the key ways this can be done, and some simple steps to follow that can reduce the risk of fire.

Taking fire precautions is the first step and involves consistently checking over the workplace for fire hazards that can lead to a workplace fire. This can be incorporated into the procedures for opening, closing and handover and should be done by an individual with a strong understanding of fire safety.

From here, the fire emergency procedure should be confirmed and reaffirmed with all staff in order to ensure a smooth evacuation process occurs in the event of a workplace fire. This is vital to preventing fatalities and injuries and involves evacuation routes being routinely cleared away and fire detection alarms being fully functional.

Other top tips for preventing a fire in the workplace:

  • Maintain electrical equipment and outlets and do not overload them
  • Properly handle and store flammable items
  • Have staff fully trained in fire safety and prevention
  • Conduct regular checks of all fire prevention systems

How Rainbow International Can Help

Rainbow International have the best possible fire restoration service for workplaces in the UK that have been affected by a fire. So much so, that we have earned contracts with a variety of insurance providers across the UK thanks to our proven methods and fantastic reputation.

After decades of developing and improving processes to handle fire restoration tasks, our specialists have everything your workplace needs to get your business back on track. We will ensure that all salvageable items are restored and any evidence of a fire has been cleaned away.

We will also decontaminate the building and remove smoke, soot and water so the premises is future-proof from the impact of the fire.

Rainbow International knows how important it is for your business’s success and survival to have these services expertly carried out at speed, so we will work with you to ensure the standards your business has are upheld and your doors are back open as soon as possible.

Our state-of-the-art equipment and extensive knowledge of how various workplaces operate mean we are the right choice for you, and you can put your trust in our team of experts.

Get In Touch For Restaurant Workplace Fire Restoration Services

It’s essential that you have specialists handle the fire damage management tasks after a fire in the workplace. That’s why our team of specialists are on hand to support you whenever you need us.

Simply get in touch and find out how our fire damage restoration service can help you today, and get the job done quickly and to the best possible standard with Rainbow International.

Published: 22 Oct 2022