7 Commonly-Missed Office Fire Hazards

At Metroclean, we train each janitor to recognize safety hazards as it pertains to their job. But, are your tenants recognizing them too?

Metroclean recommends each tenant has a safety captain to sweep the office regularly to identify potential hazards.

Here are seven common fire hazards most people miss in an office environment.

1) Damaged Power Cords: Damaged and ungrounded cords pose a threat of electric shock to employees, and can present a fire hazard.

exposed wires and damaged cordsHave your tenant’s elected safety captain inspect the cords regularly for wear, and never use a power cord with damaged external sheathing or exposed wires. If the third prong on the plus is damaged or removed, do not use.

Don’t forget, damaged cords are in violation of your building’s safety codes.


2) Misused Extension Cords: Improper use of unapproved extension cords can present a serious fire safety hazard in the workplace. The most common cause of fires, according to the U.S. Office of Compliance Safety & Health, is from extension cords that are improperly used or overloaded.

Extension cords in the work place should always be approved by a certifying laboratory, such as UL. They recommend that you use such devices temporarily, and connect only one device at at time.


3) Improper Storage of Heavy Items: Large stacks of materials and/or heavy articles can pose a great safety risk to employees if they fall or are knocked over. Heavy items should always be stored to close to the floor, and care should be taken never to exceed the safe load capacity of shelving or storage units.

4) Blocking Sprinkler Heads: Sprinklers sprinkler headare an essential and effective way of fire protection. Often times, furniture and stacked items are placed near or around the sprinkler heads, blocking the range of the sprinkler. Never place anything higher than 18 inches below a sprinkler or in such a way that it will block its full range of coverage.

5) No Emergency Action Plan:
Emergency Action Plans, or EAPs, describe how to safely evacuate in an emergency, where to gather after evacuation, and who should perform certain critical functions.

6) Opened Fire Doors: Holding fire doors open by unapproved means is a significant fire hazard. Fire doors are fundamental to the integrity of fire barriers, which are used to separate spaces to prevent the spread of fire in buildings.

don't block fire doors

Doors that are designed to be fire doors can be held open, but only if they automatically release when the building fire alarms are activated.


7) Unsafe Space Heaters: It’s best not to allow space heaters at all, especially since they can be forgotten about and left on, posing a major fire hazard.

If portable space heaters are allowed, be sure to always use those that are approved for commercial use by a recognize safety testing laboratory.

Never place a space heater near combustible materials, and have a tip-over switch to ensure they will turn off automatically when knocked over.

Never use space heaters with extension cords.


Metroclean values a safety-first attitude, and actively trains our janitors to perform safely at all times. We have an in-house foreman to repair all our equipment to not only protect the lifespan of our state-of-the-art equipment, but to prevent fire hazards in the buildings we service.

For more information about how our janitors are trained, or our equipment maintenance please contact Lesli Mann, Director of Business Development at (713) 255-0100 or lmann@metrocleanonline.com.

Source: Library of Congress: Office of Compliance

### © Metroclean 2009. All Rights Reserved

Written by: Dahlia Kelada, Director of Marketing, Metroclean  dahliak@metrocleanonline.com

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