Portable Heaters. Extra comfort and an added fire risk?
Posted on 26th November 2018 by Steve Haines - Risk Manager
As we all start to feel the onset of winter, the dark mornings and evenings and the biting winds, searching frantically in our wardrobes for our gloves and scarves, which we haven’t seen since March.
It is important to remember the risks we all take (in many cases without realising) in our quest to keep warm.
One of the first things office workers reach for is the portable heater, especially in exposed buildings such as temporary offices on construction sites or within warehouses.
Portable heaters improve the comfort of the working environment by providing rapid heat to take the edge of a bitingly cold office, but they do represent a significant fire risk.
Today’s busy offices are often cramped for space, so portable heaters are often sited in hazardous areas and near combustible materials such as shredded paper.
If left unattended and switched on overnight, they can cause significant damage which can stop a business abruptly in its tracks.
Which heaters are allowed?
The use of portable heaters is commonly restricted by way of insurance policy warranties.
Often the policy conditions restrict both heater type and location so often seemingly safe heaters such as electric oil filled convector heaters will not be permitted even in the lower risk office environment, unless we are able to agree otherwise with the underwriter.
Securely installed and correctly maintained ‘fixed’ heating is always preferred by underwriters.
Some relaxation may be given for certain portable heaters, but it is advisable to check the wording of your policy to ensure such heaters will not cause a fire and result in a repudiated property claim.
For further information about risk management for businesses please contact our dedicated Risk Manager, Steve Haines BSC FPA Member NEBOSH Cert, firstname.lastname@example.org
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