Why a clean office is a safe office

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Every year, as part of our office’s mandatory fire certificate, a gentleman from a large fire prevention company pays us a visit and trains us in what we need to do in case of a fire. It essentially boils down to get out and raise the alarm, which is pretty sensible advice.

The most important part of his visit, he tells us, and we’re pretty much on first name terms now down the years, is teaching us on how to stop a fire from breaking out in the first place. It is, we’re told all about mitigating risk, and ensuring that you never reach a position where a fire is likely to occur.

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He told us this, all the time staring at a teetering pile of newspapers stored on a shelf above some electrical equipment. It was recycling, we told him. “Well, recycle it,” he told us in no certain terms, “before you get recycled into dead people.”

We’ve never had a fire, but there’s always a first time.

Most workplace fire safety certificates have a stipulation in them about reducing fire risk, and this includes keeping your office, retail space or industrial unit tidy, and escape routes clear from clutter. In fact, if you are an employer, it is your legal duty to ensure that your workplace is kept clear from fire and its effects.

Apart from the training and risk assessments that you may be required to carry out, you should also be aware of fire prevention. And one of the easiest ways of preventing fire is ensuring that fuel and means of ignition are kept as far apart as possible.

Means of ignition are sparks, flames, electrical equipment and such like. And dealing with them is common sense.

Fuel is anything that can burn. And by keeping a tidy workplace, you can reduce the amount of fuel – for example, waste paper – that might lead to tragedy.

So, a clean workplace is the key, and if you don’t have the time or staff for that, you might want to consider a contract cleaning service. Technical cleaning might also be a consideration – we’ve heard of businesses that have experienced emergencies due to dust building up and igniting in electrical sources, causing thousands of pounds of damage.

A clean office is indeed a safe office, and it could save a life.

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