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Everyday Things that Employees Do that can Start a Fire

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Fire hazards are everywhere. Everyday items can pose a danger if not used properly. That said, fire safety should always be in mind.

When we say ‘fire hazard’ – this pertains to any number of actions or conditions that can jumpstart a fire. With further behaviour such as panic or fear contributing to the size or severity of a fire.

Causes of Office and Workplace Fires

There are many commonplace activities employees do that can result in a starting fire.


Not all workplaces have kitchens, some have a pantry area or a cafeteria that workers can hang around and have their meals. But for workplaces with complete kitchens, employees should be more mindful when reheating their meals.

Office cooking fires happen when employees try to heat their food or use a kitchen appliance. Whether it’s a small stovetop or a microwave, workers should be in the office kitchen area while their food is cooking. Using a timer is also a good idea.

4 tips to prevent kitchen fires in the workplace:

  1. Always use low heat. Cook the food slowly and not at full flame.
  2. Make sure there is a lid near the stove that you can quickly cover the pan to snuff out the fire.
  3. For microwave ovens, never put metal inside nor should you attempt to heat tightly-sealed containers.
  4. If you spot a fire or a spark in the microwave, do not attempt to open the microwave door, turn off it immediately, and unplug the cord.


Fires happen when people forget about their food and the dish catches fire. When that happens quickly grab the nearest NZ fire extinguisher.

Electrical Fires

Electrical fires in the office are often caused by old and defective appliances. Electrical items with worn or frayed-out wires should be removed from the work area. Companie should practice and hire fire safety experts to do Test and Tagging services in New Zealand on all their electrical equipment routinely.


Employees who can’t quit the habit will sneak in and smoke a few cigarettes now and then. If there is no designated smoking area, employees will find their own spot in the workplace to smoke. If not probably disposed – items like cigarette butts, matches, lighters, embers, and ashtrays can cause a starting fire.


These open flame goodies are definitely a fire hazard. We often get them over the Christmas period as nice presents- from jar candles, scented candles, and even incense sticks. We like to light them up because they make rooms smell good. But candles can burn through their holders or simply tip over, and lighting one at the office is usually not a good idea. Candles can easily be left unattended or these can be left, right next to piles of paperwork or other combustible materials which often results in a raging fire.

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To reduce the risk of fires, employers should provide fire safety training for employees. If not, a good number of office reminders and fire safety warnings should be posted in hazard areas.

It's always best to educate employees on the following:​

What to do in a fire emergency

Phone numbers for fire emergencies

Fire escape routes

Fire alarms and drills

Proper use of fire extinguishers

It is your responsibility as employers to always be compliant with health and fire safety standards. Plus provide fire safety precautions for employees as much as possible. 

Need fire safety training for employees or firefighting equipment for your NZ workplace? Get in touch with us at Fireco. Call us 0800 101 232 or email us info@fireco.co.nz

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We serve Northland and Auckland area.

Mon-Fri 0800 to 1630


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