Electrical fires account for around 33% of accidental fires in the UK workplace.
These fires can be due to electrical faults or misuse of electrical equipment. Employers should make sure equipment is installed and maintained and used correctly. This applies to equipment at work whether owned or leased by the business.
Maintenance depends on the type of appliance. Simple checks such as visual checks for loose or frayed wires or signs of overheating such as discolouration can be sufficient. The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition. NFCC recommend Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) as an effective method for demonstrating electrical safety compliance.
Staff should be trained to look out for any problems with equipment and have a system of reporting and logging faulty equipment. If equipment shouldn't be used, it should be labelled and disposed of or maintained appropriately.
Some electrical fires in the workplace can be caused by human error. Ensure sockets are not overloaded and switch off and unplug unused equipment. Don't block fan vents on electrical equipment. Combustible materials should be kept away from electrical appliances and sources of heat to reduce the risk of fire.