This article is Part 5 of our “Quick Facts About Fire Hazards” series. Check out the other posts on combustible dust, hot work, flammable and combustible liquids and gases, and equipment and machinery hazards.
Anywhere electrical wires exist, so does an electrical fire hazard. According to Electrical Contractor Magazine, 22% of workplace fires stem from electrical problems.
Here are your quick facts about electrical fire hazards.
What are the biggest electrical hazards in industrial and manufacturing facilities?
The list of potential electrical hazards is long. And many of the problems are related to other types of hazards. For example, faulty electrical wiring can generate a spark that becomes the ignition source for a combustible dust fire.
Here are some of the worst electrical hazards:
- Old, worn out sockets
- Overloaded outlets
- Faulty or defective wiring
- Faulty appliances or equipment
- Greasy or dusty appliances or equipment
- Static discharge
How do you prevent equipment and machinery fires?
As you can see from the list above, most electrical fires occur because wiring and equipment aren’t updated, cleaned, and maintained. So, it stands to reason that the best way to prevent these fires is through policies and programs aimed at making sure these important activities occur.
In addition, make sure that all of your electrical equipment is properly grounded and that you use antistatic equipment and accessories in high-risk areas.
If an electrical fire happens, what should you do?
Fires that involve energized electrical equipment — including panel boxes and power tools — are Class C fires. Do not fight these fires with water. Doing so puts you at risk of electric shock. Instead, use carbon dioxide or dry chemicals.
Make sure you have the right kind of fire extinguisher available and accessible, and that everyone in your facility knows to de-energize the circuit before fighting the fire.
For more information about industrial fires, and how to build fire safety into your industrial operations, read 5 Major Causes of Industrial Fires and Explosions.