Fires are some of the most damaging disasters for homes and businesses, causing millions of dollars worth of damage every year both in Australia and around the world.

Businesses need to understand the impact a large fire can have on both the safety of workers and operations.

WorkCover NSW has recently published a new safety alert, based on the results of an investigation of a winery fire in the Hunter Valley. WorkCover NSW is constantly on the pulse of safety notifications – especially when they’re centred around small businesses.

An explosion and several subsequent fires killed two workers and caused serious injuries for another. The investigation is still underway, but it’s believed that welding was being performed in the vicinity of a building where ethanol was being stored, along with a number of other flammable liquids.

The extreme heat from the welding combined with substantial quantities of flammable liquids is certainly asking for trouble without the proper precautions in place.

A subsequent risk study noted that ventilation, liquid storage and markings are a necessity to minimise the risk of such an accident occurring.

The events are sure to be a reminder for wineries of the necessity of proper fire safety systems, as well as an appropriate level of insurance cover to deal with the fallout of such a disastrous event.

This reminder should remind companies that it’s important to minimise the risk of accidents, and ensure fire safety is always a top priority. In addition to this, consistently check your policy to see whether it still includes the necessary level of cover for fires and other disasters.

Companies will certainly prefer to put the proper safety precautions in place rather than deal with the damages from a fire.