In the hustle and bustle of office life, it’s easy to overlook some of the items that can pose significant risks to our safety. One such danger that often goes unnoticed is the accumulation of old papers and documents. While it may not seem like a big deal, keeping old papers around an office can be a serious fire hazard. In this post, we’ll explore the reasons why and what you can do to mitigate this risk, and how iShred could help.
Old papers, especially those stored in cardboard boxes or piled up in stacks, are highly combustible. When exposed to heat or an open flame, paper can easily catch fire and spread rapidly, putting your office and everyone at risk.
Increased Fire Load
The older papers you have stored in your office or warehouse, the higher the fire load, which is the amount of combustible material in each area. A high fire load means that if a fire does start, it will burn hotter and faster, making it more difficult to control and extinguish.
Hindered Escape Routes
Piles of old papers can block pathways and obstruct exits, making it harder for people to escape in the event of a fire. Cluttered spaces increase the risk of accidents and can impede the safe evacuation of employees, a major workplace and safety issue.
Smoke and Toxic Fumes
When paper burns, it releases smoke and toxic gases that can be deadly. Inhaling this smoke can lead to respiratory problems and, in extreme cases, fatalities.
WH and S Implications
Most insurance policies require businesses to maintain a safe and hazard-free workplace. If a fire occurs due to the negligence of not properly managing old papers, it may result in insurance claims being denied, leaving your business to cover the costly aftermath
iShred’s 5 Steps to Mitigate the Risk
- Implement a Document Management System: Regular destruction of old documents and records annually. This not only reduces the fire risk but also makes it easier to organize and access important information and ensure full protection.
- Regularly Clean and Declutter: Scheduling routine clean-ups to remove unnecessary papers and ensure that offices and warehouses remain clutter-free. iShred provides a secure and professional shredding service to assist in decluttering.
- Fire-Safe Storage: : If you must keep physical copies of documents, iShred suggests storing them in fire-resistant cabinets or safes. These are designed to protect the contents from fire damage.
- Fire Safety Training: Ensure that all employees are trained in fire safety procedures, including evacuation plans, fire extinguisher use, and the importance of maintaining a clutter-free workspace.
- Regular Inspections:: Conduct regular fire safety inspections to identify and address potential hazards. While old papers may seem harmless, they can pose a significant fire hazard in your office.
By taking proactive steps to reduce the accumulation of paper and implementing appropriate fire safety measures, you can help protect your workplace, your employees, and your business from the devastating consequences of a fire. Don’t wait until it’s too late – take action and contact us now to ensure a protected and more secure working environment.