Common Causes of Fire in the Workplace [Infographic]

People often believe the outbreak of a fire won’t happen in their workplace, but this attitude is a recipe for disaster. Fire represents numerous dangers to workplaces, both in terms of the damage it can cause to facilities and premises, but more importantly through the fact that it can cause fatalities. To see how these fires can start and to learn how to prevent them, take a look at the Common Causes of Fire in the Workplace infographic below. The graphic includes statistics for Great Britain during the April 2013 to March 2014 period.

Common causes of fire in the workplace infographic

Workplace Fires

22,200 fires were reported in non-dwelling buildings for 2013-14, of which, accidental fires accounted for 75% of the total. 3,700 cases were recorded where alarms failed to sound and 17 fatalities occurred as a result of fires which started in buildings other than dwellings.

Commercial Buildings Most at Risk

Retail distribution and industrial premises were the workplaces most at risk with 3,000 and 2,500 fires respectively. Restaurants, cafes, pubs, wine bars and takeaways are also at risk with a reported 2,200 fires.

Common Causes

Electrical Faults

25% of accidental fires in non-dwellings were caused by faulty appliances and leads. This can often be attributed to overloaded circuits, shoddy workmanship or a lack of maintenance. To avoid such fires, ensure that you have a professional check your electrical set ups regularly. Also, automatic fire suppression systems can be placed where electrical fires are likely to occur to put fires out when they start and prevent them from doing any significant damage.

Misuse of Equipment

2,000 fires in the 2013-2014 period resulted from a misuse of equipment. To help prevent this from happening in your business, ensure your staff are trained properly with all equipment. In addition to this, ensure that risk assessments are carried out on a regular basis and that safety equipment is available at all times.


Smoking is another common cause of fire in the workplace with over a third of deaths in non-domestic buildings being attributed to smokers’ materials. It’s easy for fires to start if workers smoke near flammable materials or in hazardous environments. When cigarettes are not put out properly, they can ignite surrounding materials and a fire can spread. Designate smoking areas in your premises and educate staff fully on the risks of smoking in hazardous environments to reduce the risk of a fire caused by smoking.


There were 4,950 deliberate fires in non-dwelling premises during the 2013-2014 period. To reduce the risk of arson, keep flammable materials locked away so they cannot be accessed easily. In addition to this, security measures such as CCTV cameras and security guards can act as a major deterrent to arsonists.


Fire costs lives as well as money, no matter what business or industry you operate in. To stop fires before they start, at Fireward we provide automatic suppression systems, keeping your staff, premises and machinery safe.

Sources: Fire Statistics: Great Britain April 2013 to March 2014

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