5 Common Fire Risks in Commercial Properties

23 June 2019

Fire risk assessments are a legal requirement for most businesses. Many risks will seem obvious, but there are some that may not have even occurred to you. It’s the job of the fire risk assessor to highlight these and equip you with the necessary corrective measures to ensure the risks are minimised.

Commercial properties differ residential properties.  This applies normally if the building involved is used for business activities by vast amounts of people. With increased individuals working on the property, and the use of equipment that many need to complete their daily business tasks, the risk of fire can increase substantially.

Read below to find out some of the most common fire causes in commercial buildings.

Equipment Misuse

Commercial buildings contain high amounts of heavy (and dangerous equipment) which your staff should be adequately trained on before operating. As well as being competent, staff should always wear the necessary safety equipment and protective clothing and have access to everything they need to keep themselves safe.


Arson is the act of deliberately setting fire to property and is a criminal offence. As arson is a deliberate act, it can be difficult to prevent, but there are steps you can take to limit the damage caused by the perpetrator. There should be no easy access on site to combustible materials. These should be kept locked away at all times. Keeping tight building security can put-off potential arsonists and prevent them from being able to carry out a full attack before being discovered.

Electrical Faults

Faulty appliance and cabling are one of the most significant fire risks in commercial properties. Have you had your electrical appliances tested recently? There is a variety of reasons electrical equipment can fail:

  • Lack of maintenance
  • Accidental damage
  • Poor craftsmanship
  • Overloaded circuits
  • Appliance misuse

Getting your electrical framework professionally checked on a regular basis should be a priority for your business.


Your business must have a strict smoking policy – but that doesn’t mean you’re still not at risk from fires caused by smoking materials. A designated smoking area can reduce the risk of cigarettes coming into contact with flammable products. But staff should still be given the necessary education on the risk of smoking-fuelled fires to ensure they all adopt responsibility for preventing this.

Material Storage

Material storage is a manageable risk to control but remains one of the most common causes of fires. Flammable materials (like packaging, rubbish or certain chemicals) shouldn’t be stored near potential fire risks (like heaters, open flames or electrical equipment). Chemicals and hazardous materials should be kept locked away without the ease of access. Make sure you have strict policies in place for the handling and storage of these potential risks.

How Can I Prevent Fire Risks in Commercial Property?

Businesses are responsible for minimising the risk in their properties. You should ensure that you carry out a regular fire Risk Assessment, provided by an accredited consultant, and action the points highlighted in the report. If your commercial property is in the hospitality industry, check out our fire risk assessment services for hospitality.

For more information on preventing risk, get in touch today.

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