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Arson in the workplace

Business | Articles 

Arson is a major cause of loss of life and serious injuries and is the cause of over half of all the primary fires in the UK today. Sadly the trends and consequent costs of arson to business are increasing.

Every week, 360 businesses and public buildings are damaged or destroyed by deliberate fire-setting.

Between 1993 and 2003, the number of deliberate fires in buildings increased by 17%, a total of 2.4 million deliberate fires in the UK during that ten year period resulting in 1,250 deaths and 32,000 injuries.

The human cost of deliberate fire-setting, whether criminally reckless or with murderous intent, is shocking. There are about 100 needless deaths and 2,500 injuries annually.

Commenting Steve Best, Managing Director of fire safety specialists, Newflame, said, “The new Fire Safety Order, which came into force in October 2006, recognises the change in focus from reaction to prevention that has been emerging for some years. Among the many measures in the Act is a statutory duty to promote community fire safety and this includes arson prevention. Most fire and rescue services were already undertaking this work before the law change but now for the first time, it has legislative backing.”

Home Office Research has estimated that the overall annual cost of fire in England and Wales is around £7.7 billion. Of this, arson costs around £2.8 billion. Such fires severely disrupt the local economy. Three quarters of companies suffering a significant fire will be out of business within the year, leading to lost jobs and further losses to the economy. British business insured fire losses are £700 million each year, with arson accounting for over half the insured fire losses.

It is worth considering that arson costs the economy £53.8 million pounds each week in England and Wales also on a weekly basis:

There are 2,213 arson attacks 360 businesses and public buildings are damaged or destroyed by arson
Arson kills 2 people
Arson injures 63 people
20 schools and colleges are damaged or destroyed by arson
262 homes are damaged or destroyed by arson
1,402 cars are damaged or destroyed by arson.

Newflame’s Steve Best observes, “Arson is an increasingly significant factor in fire losses and industrial and commercial buildings are major targets for arsonists. Arson is an ever present threat but one which business owners can do much to control.

"To minimise the risk from arson, companies should be carrying out a Fire Risk Assessment, which has been a legal requirement since 1997. Make sure everyone is aware that they have a responsibility in fire safety - think of all the ways in which someone could start a fire deliberately inside or outside your premises.”

December 2006




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