Fire Safety - Ignition Sources

One element of the NEBOSH General Certificate deals with fire safety in a place of work. As well as fuel and oxygen, a fire needs a source of ignition in order to start. Most workplaces have many sources of heat and ignition which have the potential to cause a fire, not to mention a large supply of fuel to burn and rapidly increase the size of a fire. These include:

Naked Flames - The most obvious example of this is from matches or cigarette lighters used by workers who smoke. It is therefore vital that smoking areas are located away from any flammable material. Whilst UK legislation means that smoking is forbidden indoors and smoking areas must be located outside, there is still a risk of flammable material being outside, such as paper recycling bins or spilt oil.

Naked flames may also be present in cooking appliances such as gas cookers and manufacturing equipment like kilns.

Hot Surfaces - Surfaces can become hot either deliberately (e.g. cooking equipment), or unintentionally by occurrences such as friction or insufficient cooling. If they get hot enough, a fire can start.

Sparks - Electrical equipment can create sparks which are a source of ignition for fires. This can be through faulty equipment which sparks, or through normal operation which creates sparks as a result of its use. Examples of this include metal grinders and impact tools like hammers which can spark if hit on certain types of surfaces.

Defective or damaged electrical wiring, as well as overloaded power points can also create sparks.

Static Electricity - Often overlooked as a source of ignition, static electricity from actions such as objects rubbing together can ignite a fire. The most dangerous situation is static electricity around highly flammable liquids such as petrol which can quickly ignite and explode.


For those who wish to specialise in fire safety and require a health and safety qualification which focuses specifically on fire safety, the NEBOSH Fire Certificate is ideal. As well as the full NEBOSH Fire course, we also often conversion courses for those who have already achieved the NEBOSH General Certificate qualification within the last five years, as there is no need to repeat the NGC1 unit.

For more information, please call us on 0115 984 9940 or send us an online contact form to discuss your requirements with one of our health and safety training advisors.



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