Fire safety in the office.

Many of us spend our working days in offices of different shapes and sizes – but what are the fire safety must-knows?


Reducing the risk of fire in the office

If you're responsible for an office environment, there are specific areas of fire safety you need to really pay attention to. Whether it's a converted heritage building or a purpose-built block, read on for our overview of fire safety in offices.

Top causes of fires in offices?

  1. Electrical distribution 32%
  2. Lighting 14%
  3. Smoking related 11%

Why fire safety matters so much

  1. You are risking lives if you don't act responsibly.
  2. It makes good business sense – the Association of British Insurers reported that around 60% of private businesses never recover from a fire. 
  3. It's the law – you can be fined and may even face time in prison if you don't meet your legal obligations

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Causes and risks

Fire risks in office environments

Many  office managers think that fire safety is their landlord's responsibility, but this isn't actually true. Though landlords need to keep buildings structurally safe, tenants have responsibilities too. 

Everyone in business needs to complete a Fire Risk Assessment and make a emergency plan. This is the law – and it's also good practice as it helps you identify and mitigate against risks.

But what are the most common fire risks in offices? 

  1. Not planning appropriate escape routes – always take into account different people's abilities to respond to and escape from a fire.
  2. Electrical faults – these often happen when portable items aren't properly tested and maintained, or when the electrical system itself isn't in good condition.
  3. Electrical equipment – we see many fires where lighting is placed too close to flammable materials.
  4. Wedging fire doors open – properly installed and maintained fire doors can hold a fire back for 30 minutes, but only if they're closed.
  5. Smoking – smoking materials being disposed of carelessly.

Help and advice

How to reduce fire risks in office environments 

With a little planning you can keep your people and your premises fire safe...

Useful downloads

After we leave – what happens after a fire?

Download PDF (177kb)

Person-Centred Fire Risk Assessment

Download PDF (51kb)

Complete or update your Fire Risk Assessment

Understand your responsibilities and find help to undertake this vital assessment.

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