Report finds number of factory fires jumped 129% in 2021

Data collected by risk management firm Resilinc shows that 59% of fires in manufacturing facilities were caused by faulty equipment.

A recent report published by a risk management solutions company Resilinc found that the number of factory fires increased by 129% between 2020 and 2021 as facility operators grapple with a variety of challenges that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company postulates that the rate of factory fires in 2022 could exceed the high rate of incidents recorded last year.

1,946 factory fire notifications were distributed through Resilinc’s EventWatch data platform in 2021. A company white paper, “Spotlight on Factory Fires,” details that the platform distributed 2,889 alerts on factory fires so far in 2022, which the company says is “on track to have the most reported factory fires in history.

EventWatch alerts show that factory fires occur most often in automotive, manufacturing, and food and beverage plants. Of 15 countries, the United States recorded the highest number of factory fires in 2021, followed by India and Germany.

“The overwhelming majority of the increase was largely due to the impacts of the pandemic on plant operations, particularly labor and regulatory issues. While shutdowns kept skilled workers home and distancing precautions forced factories to operate with fewer staff, many factories were also reorganizing to manufacture new products, such as chemical-based hand sanitizers,” the company wrote. in a press release. blog post this week. “Skills deficits and rapid expansion into new products have led to gaps in safety protocols, mishandling of chemicals, delayed machine maintenance and other fire hazards.”

The company’s research of 305 factory fires in 2021 indicates machinery played a role in more than half of the incidents. 59% of plant fires analyzed by Resilinc were caused by faulty equipment that year.

“Often, equipment and machinery are not properly installed, operated or maintained, which can lead to industrial fires,” Resilinc writes in the white paper. “Companies don’t always have proper safety, cleaning or maintenance procedures for machinery.[s]or if they do, employees are often not sufficiently trained, which prevents them from knowing what risks to watch out for and what to do if they discover a hazard while working with machinery.

Some facilities do not proactively replace older equipment, which can also lead to fire hazards, the report points out.

Resilinc suggests that plant operators take a four-pronged approach to mitigating fire risk at their facilities, including tiered mapping, supplier risk assessment, risk monitoring, and working with contractors. suppliers to identify and mitigate risks.

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