Causes of Fires

The most common causes of workplace fires are as follows:

  • • Electrical causes—lax maintenance in wiring, motors, switches, lamps, and heating elements
  • • Smoking—near flammable liquids, stored combustibles, etc.
  • • Cutting and welding—highly dangerous in areas where sparks can ignite combustibles
  • • Hot surfaces—exposure of combustibles to furnaces, hot ducts or flues, electric lamps or heating elements, and hot metal
  • • Overheated materials—abnormal process temperatures, materials in dryers, overheating of flammable liquids
  • • Open flames—gasoline or other torches, gas or oil burners
  • • Friction—hot bearings, misaligned or broken machine parts, choking or jamming materials, poor adjustment of moving parts
  • • Unknown substances—unexpected materials
  • • Spontaneous heating-deposits in ducts and flues, low-grade storage, scrap waste, oily waste and rubbish
  • • Combustion sparks—burning rubbish; foundry cupolas, furnaces, and fireboxes
  • • Miscellaneous—including incendiary cases, fires spreading from adjoining buildings, molten metal or glass, static electricity near flammable liquids, chemical action, and lighting
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