Workplace fires – common causes and how to prevent them

Without the awareness, care and attention of everyone at work, a fire can start and spread in the workplace. What’s more, ill-preparation can cost lives.

Between 2013 and 2014, there were 22,200 fires reported in non-dwelling businesses, with commercial buildings deemed most at risk. Licensed premises and those serving food accounted 2,200 fires, and it was noted that in 3,700 cases, the alarms failed to sound.

Overall, 17 people were killed in situations where better preventative measures could have been in place.

Being aware of the risks is one of the best places to start, and we’ve highlighted the four most common cause of fire in the workplace.


  1. Electrical faults – Overloaded circuits, lack of maintenance and bad workmanship caused 25% of fires in non-dwelling buildings. Regular inspections can help avoid this accident waiting to happen
  2. Misuse of equipment – This factor was responsible for 2,000 fires in between 2013-2014, and can be avoided through thorough training
  3. Smoking – In environments which house potentially flammable materials, it’s essential that any designated smoking areas are positioned well away from the main building
  4. Arson – Security measures can help keep your business premises from becoming a victim of arson. Nearly 5,000 fires were started deliberately in the 2013-2014 period


The retail and distribution industry, industrial sector and hospitality premises are most at risk from fire, but it could happen to any business at any time. Make sure you have measures in place to avoid a loss of stock, equipment, profits, and worse, life.

The Chartered brokers at Hine Insurance can explain what’s covered on your commercial insurance policy in the event of a fire – call us on 0161 438 0000 for more details.

Andy Guy
Andy Guy

Hi there! I'm Andy, I'm the Head of Charity and Faith Insurance at Hine Insurance with over 30 years experience.

In my spare time, I'm a trustee of a church and I enjoy walking and getting to grips with the garden.

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