At this time of year, we all want to liven up our workspace with a little festive cheer. From hanging paper chain garlands to buying a singing, dancing snowman to sit on your desk, there are lots of ways to introduce some holiday magic into your office. But before you start decorating, be sure you’re paying attention to fire safety…
Fire safety in the workplace
It’s easy to assume that fire safety is simply a case of having common sense and that it’s actually pretty easy to prevent a fire from breaking out at work. After all, we get through our daily lives at home perfectly fine without the oven combusting or our electrical sockets bursting into flames, don’t we?
Well, the truth is that fire safety training is a legal requirement for all businesses across the United Kingdom for a very legitimate reason. Workplace fires are more common than you think, and the causes of these fires can vary from accident to human error. It’s your professional responsibility to ensure that your office (and the building it’s based in) is as safe as possible from the risk of a fire.
Just because you have not experienced a fire first-hand does not mean that you are exempt from ever experiencing one. Most people who have lost their livelihoods to fire believe “it will never happen to me” until it actually does.
Decorating for Christmas (or Halloween, or a birthday party, or virtually any special occasion you might celebrate in the office…)
A cluttered workspace is one of the most common causes of fire in the workplace. Now, we can’t speak for you and tell you if your workspace is already cluttered or not, but we can firmly say that decorating for an occasion such as Christmas or a staff party is going to add even more unnecessary clutter to your office.
The problem with workspace clutter is that it’s often associated with an unclean or poorly maintained working environment. For example, a desk so filled with clutter that the cleaner can’t reach behind the computer monitor to dust effectively in case they knock over photo frames or precious ornaments. Or perhaps the office that hasn’t seen a spring clean in the past decade, where every member of staff politely ignores the mounting stack of boxes and shelves of paperwork or box files cluttering up the back room…
If your workspaces is already cluttered before you start decorating, you need to be aware that all this clutter is just more material that could combust in the event of a fire. This means that the risk of a fire spreading quickly and with devastating consequences is much higher in your office.
Even if your office is pristine-clean and so well-maintained that the shelves in the storage cupboard are virtually empty, you should still pay awareness to the risk of fire when it comes time to decorate your office. Here’s why…
Pretty strings of fairy lights, twinkly Christmas tree lights, multicoloured flashing LED rope lights—no matter what your taste is when it comes to lighting up your office for the festive season, be mindful of the dangers associated with Christmas lights.
First of all, always be sure that any lights you use to decorate your office have been bought from a reputable business and conform to the British Standard. Don’t go fishing around in your loft for the forgotten pack of fairy lights you used to decorate the house with back in the nineties—they might look nice (if they even still work), but are they safe? Probably not.
As pretty as they might be as a backdrop to your office photos, you should also be sure to always switch off any lights before leaving the office. Never leave Christmas lights on overnight, as the heat from the lightbulbs could be enough to pose a fire hazard (this is especially true in the case of lights strung up on Christmas trees—real or artificial).
Leave candles at home!
No matter how relaxed your employer is about your choice of Christmas decorations, there is no situation where a candle should be permitted in your office. Whether you’re trying to create a festive ambience or want something to warm your hands over on chilly days, candles belong at home—do not bring them into the office!
All it takes is for you to accidentally push a candle too close to a stack of paperwork or the branch of your Christmas tree, and within seconds, your office could be up in flames. It simply isn’t worth the risk.
Paper chains, banners, and tinsel might look lovely strung up around the office, but make sure you’re not placing any combustible decorations like these above heaters or radiators, and definitely don’t attach them to any lights.
Likewise, be sure to avoid covering any vents on your electrical equipment such as computers and printers when you’re placing your decorations. The build-up of heat could affect your machines as well as start a fire.
Fire safety training
If you haven’t already taken a fire safety training course, let us remind you that it is a legal duty for you and all of your employees to have fire safety training. Failure to do so could result in serious legal consequences and fines, particularly if a fire breaks out on your premises.
We offer dedicated fire safety training in an online or face-to-face capacity here at the Fire Training Company. Our accredited online fire safety training courses take just 1 to 2 hours to complete in full and can be accessed 24/7 from any device with an internet connection. Click here now to view our available online fire training courses.
Alternatively, we have an experienced team of ex-emergency services personnel delivering fire training courses across the United Kingdom. Why not click here now to view where our training centres are based?
If you’d like to chat to a member of our friendly customer support team about fire safety training, please get in touch by calling us on 01327 552160 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can even use the live chat feature available on this website to chat to us anytime during office hours.
The Fire Training Company offices are open from 9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.