Are Tumble Dryers a Fire Risk?

The use of tumble dryers is commonplace across the hospitality industry. Recently, tumble dryers have been the cause of some devastating fires. These disasters also have catastrophic repercussions – for the business and as a risk to life. The below reports were presented in only the last three days:

The rise in tumble dryer related fires has not gone unnoticed by the leisure and hospitality industry.
Fires not only destroy premises, but cause disruption for multiple venues. If not covered by business interruption insurance, this would result in a loss in profits.
Faulty tumble dryers can rip apart venues and homes. These types of fires are very difficult to put out, as seen in the picture above.

Are you covered by insurance in case of a tumble dryer fire?

Whilst some insurance policies include specific conditions regarding the use of tumble dryers, it is incumbent on each client to minimise the risk to their business of the use of these machines.

The likelihood of a fire occurring can be reduced by following some simple rules:

  • Dryers should not be left unattended whilst in operation.
  • Dryers should be cleaned of waste materials such as lint after each cycle or in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendations. The waste materials should be removed and suitably disposed of and not be allowed to accumulate around the machines or other laundry.
  • All oily and/or greasy fabric materials intended for tumble drying should first be suitably washed using an appropriate degreasing agent.
  • Dryers should not be used immediately prior to the daily closure of business. The dryer should be completely unloaded and allowed to cool for at least 60 minutes prior to daily closure.
  • All fabric materials after drying should be cooled by either of the following methods:
    • The drying machine cooling cycle.
    • By the items being removed and separated to cool naturally on a non-combustible surface and to be aired for a minimum of 60 minutes before being folded.

The above advice should be considered good practice in the use of tumble dryers, although each business will need to assess their own risks independently and document what steps they have taken to reduce their exposure to a claim.

If you have any queries on how best to protect your business from tumble-drying and other risks, please do not hesitate to contact your account executive who will be happy to provide guidance on good practice and minimising your exposure to hazards.