We might not think of offices are especially dangerous work environments, but they can have their fair share of hidden fire hazards. Because safety standards in offices are typically not as strict as they might be in say, a factory or laboratory, it can be easy for these fire hazards to go unnoticed. Likewise, it’s a good idea to stay mindful of potential hazards around the office, and to do periodic safety checks to make sure they are promptly resolved.
Damaged Electrical Cords
Worn, frayed electrical cords are one of the foremost fire hazards in many offices. Organize cables with zip ties and keep them away from high-traffic areas. Don’t run cords under carpets as they can easily be damaged by foot traffic and rolling chairs. If you notice any sign of damage to electrical cords or components, replace them immediately.
Things like reams of printer paper and cardboard boxes can all become fuel sources in the event of a fire. Try to consolidate flammables to one fire-resistant storage space whenever possible. Don’t allow loose documents to accumulate in workspaces. Established designated cleaning times to prevent combustibles from building up around the office.
Sometimes when offices purchase new furniture, the old stuff just gets left to sit in an unoccupied corner office. In some cases, it might even be allowed to block a point of egress out of the building. Get rid of old furniture as soon as possible to avoid adding an unnecessary fire hazard to your office.
Ideally, space heaters shouldn’t be allowed in the office at all. If they are, make sure they have an approval label from a recognized testing laboratory such as UL (Underwriters Laboratory) or ETL (Intertek). Be sure that employees are educated about their proper operation and safety protocols as well. Keep them well away from combustibles, and always make sure they’re turned off when not in use.