Preventing Electrical Fires
Electrical fires are one of the top five causes of fires in manufacturing plants. Here a non-exhaustive list of specific electrical hazards:
- Wiring that is exposed or not up to code
- Overloaded outlets
- Extension cords
- Overloaded circuits
- Static discharge
The damage caused by these fires can quickly compound thanks to several of the other items on this list. Any of the above hazards can cause a spark, which can serve as an ignition source for combustible dust, as well as flammable liquids and gasses.
How to prevent electrical fire incidents
As with the previous risks, the key to preventing electrical fires is awareness and prevention. This involves training, maintenance, and following best practices. Here are a few to put into practice right now:
- Don’t overload electrical equipment or circuits.
- Don’t leave temporary equipment plugged in when it’s not in use.
- Avoid using extension cords, and never consider them permanent solutions.
- Use antistatic equipment where required by NFPA or OSHA.
- Follow a regular housekeeping plan to remove combustible dust and other hazardous materials from areas that contain equipment and machinery.
- Implement a reporting system so that anyone who observes an electrical fire risk can report it without consequences.