The annual fire statistics for 2013 record a 10% increase in the number of workplace fires, with fire brigades called to 1,522 workplace fires during the year, compared to 1,382 in 2012.
The average number of workplace fires over the last three years for which records are available (2011-2013) is 1,494 a year. As usual, fires in outdoor storage areas at 414 topped the list, followed by fires in agricultural buildings. There was a dramatic drop in the number of factory fires, from 230 in 2012 to 105 in 2013.
Though the figures do not link cause to place, it is worth noting that 171 fires were caused by electrical equipment, 288 by other equipment, 168 by electrical wiring installations and 22 by explosions.
While the fire location and causes figures for 2014 are not yet available, the number of fatalities is. Thirty-seven people died in fires in 2014, compared to 24 in 2013 and 28 in 2012. Thirty-eight people died in fires in 2011. Over the four-year period, just one death was in a workplace, a factory fire in 2013.
Fire brigades were called to 2,523 malicious fires. The total number of fires attended by fire brigades in 2013 was 16,656, compared to 23,894 in 2010.
Workplace fires are a threat to lives, property and employment so it is important that precautions are put in place, that employees are aware of the Evacuation Procedures, Fire Wardens are trained in their role and Fire Drills are carried out.
Read the full report in the latest issue of the Health and Safety Review (April 2015).
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