How to Prevent Fires in the Workplace

Preventing work fires requires paying attention.

Preventing work fires requires paying attention.

Most fires in a workplace are caused by sparks, chemical interactions, and not paying attention to surrounding items within the work area. Preventing fires in a workplace comes down to following safety rules and using good judgement. Pay close attention to safety labels and read the safety documentation provided by your company.

Fire Prevention Steps

Visually inspect the area. Clean and remove any clutter or combustible materials. This includes emptying full trash cans, picking up loose papers on the floor, and making sure that all flammable liquids and substances are properly sealed and stored.

Check all electrical outlets and make sure they are not overloaded. Connecting too many electrical devices to one outlet can cause the electrical wire feeding that outlet to overheat. If the problem is not corrected, it could start a fire. For example, most business outlets are 120 volt, 20 amp outlets, which can handle a maximum of 2,400 watts of power. Each electrical device that can be connected to this outlet has a power rating measured in watts. Add the wattages of all electrical devices connected to that outlet. If the total is greater than 2,400 watts, then the circuit is overloaded and some of the devices need to be moved to a different outlet not on the same circuit.

Use of static electricity straps will help prevent sparks that can cause flammable materials to ignite. This is important if you are working with machines that generate a lot of static electricity.

Keep the workplace properly ventilated. For work areas that house flammable chemicals, it is very important to keep the fumes from those chemicals from reaching an unhealthy level. If the fumes are at an unsafe level, a simple static electric spark can be enough to start a fire by igniting the chemicals.

Items you will need

  • Static electricity strap
  • Calculator
  • Paper
  • Pencil


  • Read all safety labels and warnings.


  • Do not touch overloaded electrical wires. Shut the main power off first.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to strong chemical fumes. They can impair your judgment.

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About the Author

William Kinsey lives in Concord, N.C. He started writing articles in March 2009, which have appeared on and He currently holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. He also has several years experience as an outside plant engineer and planner with AT&T. He also currently owns and operates Sophisticated Curves, an online fashion mall that caters to the needs of plus size women.

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