Top causes of workplace fires and how to avoid them

  • Fire presents a significant risk to organisations and can be a cause of major loss
  • There are a wide range of factors contributing to fire risk, some of which aren’t commonly appreciated and many of which are avoidable
  • Our interactive infographic highlights some of the most common causes and how these can be managed

There are more than 22,000 non-residential fires reported in the UK every year, with a large number of these occurring in workplaces.

There are a variety of reasons why these fires start, however, many incidents could be avoided by understanding and managing the most common causes of fire. While there has been a general downward trend in the number of UK fires over the last ten years, there were still 57,000 fire-related property claims in 2015, totalling roughly £1.1bn.

Workplace fires also tend to be larger and more complex, explains Paul Redington, of Zurich’s Major Loss – Property team.

“The main commonality between major incidents is a ready source of ‘fuel’ – mostly combustible material that allows a blaze to develop,” he says. “Preventing workplace fire loss requires knowledge of both the underlying ignition risks and the possible reasons for the rapid spread of fire.”

One of the best ways for organisations to protect themselves from fire risk is to understand the most common causes and implement counter measures.

Our interactive infographic highlights the most common causes of non-residential fires and what organisations should be thinking about when trying to minimise the risks.

Timber frame use, modular construction and polystyrene cladding are common in modern construction. These can increase fire risk if managed poorly, necessitating quality construction and advanced fire-stopping technology.