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April 4, 2023

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fire safety

85% of UK tradespeople ‘wouldn’t know what to do’ in event of a fire

A staggering 85% of UK tradespeople would not know what to do in the event of a fire at work, new research has shown.

The study by IronmongeryDirect also showed just 12% of workers always have access to a fire extinguisher and 85% do not have one in their vehicle.

This is despite the fact a third of the 500 tradespeople surveyed said they had witnessed a fire at work.Dominick Sandford, Managing Director at IronmongeryDirect, said: “It’s clear from our research that many tradespeople are unprepared when it comes to fire safety, with worrying numbers not knowing what to do in the event of a fire or how to advise their customers on fire safety.

“We hope that by highlighting these issues, we can help to raise awareness and encourage tradespeople to take steps to improve their fire safety knowledge and preparedness.”

The research showed some trades are more likely to come across fires than others. Locksmiths encounter incidents the most often at 56%, followed by joiners and plasterers which were both 50%.

Next it was a building surveyor at 48%, an electrician at 39% and a builder at 34% – with a plumber and carpenter both on 28%.

Those trades least likely to come across a fire are a window fabricator and a landscaper.

Fire safety knowledge

However, the survey also revealed that the level of fire safety knowledge also varies by trade.

Landscapers and joiners were the least prepared, with 94% and 92% respectively admitting they wouldn’t know how to respond.

The correct way to handle a situation depends on whether the fire is electrical, gas or chemical. But 86% of tradespeople said they were unaware of the differences between them.

Edgaras Zilinskas, Director at Fire Immunity, gave this advice: “Electrical fires should be dealt with by cutting the power, and then spraying the area with a dry powder or water mist fire extinguisher.

“For gas fires, turn off the gas supply, cover the flames using a fire blanket and utilise the appropriate fire extinguisher, such as dry powder.

“And chemical fires can be dangerous to tackle, but try to remove any sources of fuel, heat and oxygen by using carbon dioxide, foam or dry powder fire extinguishers.”

Fire Safety in 2023 eBook

SHP's sister site, IFSEC Insider has released its annual Fire Safety Report for 2023, keeping you up to date with the biggest news and prosecution stories from around the industry.

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Plus, explore the growing risks of lithium-ion battery fires and hear from experts in disability evacuation and social housing.

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