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19th July 2023

Fire Risks Of Charging Electric Bikes/Scooters

group of electric scooters


Lithium batteries which power e-bikes and e-scooters are the fastest growing fire risk within premises. In London alone, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) revealed their statistics that indicate the emergency services have been called out to a battery fire once every two days. The risk is such that all e-vehicles have been banned from the London transport network since 2021.

It’s clear that charging the battery of an e-bike or e-scooter in your workplace could be putting your premises and staff at risk. In this blog, we explore what are the dangers, and what you can do to control the risks.


Lithium-ion batteries have become an integral part of our modern lives, powering our smartphones, laptops and electric vehicles. While these batteries offer numerous advantages such as high energy density and longer lifespan, they also come with certain dangers, especially when exposed to fire. The unique chemistry and properties of lithium-ion batteries make them prone to ‘thermal runaway’, leading to potentially hazardous situations.

As a battery becomes worn or damaged or used improperly, internal short circuits can occur. This results in an uncontrolled increase in temperature, triggering a chain reaction that can result in a fire or explosion. Once thermal runaway starts, it releases a large amount of heat, gases, and flames, making it extremely difficult to control and extinguish the resulting fire.

Fire Fighting

Extinguishing a fire involving lithium-ion batteries can be challenging due to several factors. Firstly, these batteries contain highly flammable electrolytes that can fuel the fire, thus making it more difficult to extinguish. The high energy density of lithium-ion batteries means that they can store a substantial amount of energy, leading to fires that can burn for an extended period of time. Moreover, the release of toxic fumes and gases poses an additional risk to firefighters and emergency responders.

Traditional firefighting methods, such as water or foam, are not terribly effective in extinguishing lithium-ion battery fires. Water can cause the fire to spread or even lead to the release of highly flammable hydrogen gas. Foam can also struggle to smother the flames due to the battery’s high energy density. Therefore, specialised fire suppression methods and equipment are required to safely control lithium-ion battery fires. These methods may involve using dry chemical agents or specialized extinguishing agents.

Charging on Site

As electric forms of transport become more popular you may find yourself under pressure from employees wanting to charge their equipment on the premises. Clearly, there’s not only a cost to charging, but if you do decide to allow charging on site, then this will need to be appropriately risk assessed.

We have highlighted below some suggested control measures which will reduce the risk of fire whilst charging is taking place:-

1. Designated Charging Area: Establish a designated charging area that is well-ventilated, away from flammable materials, and easily accessible, this should be outside in a sheltered area if possible.

2. Fire Safety Measures: Ensure the designed charging area is covered via automatic fire detection such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are sited near the charging area. Conduct regular fire drills to familiarise employees with the site’s emergency procedures.

3. Charging Equipment Safety: Make sure that the batteries and chargers meet UK safety standards – this should be clear and labelled, if they don’t then you’re well within your right to refuse the privilege. If staff leave chargers on site, then it is recommended these are included within the companies PAT testing regime. Regularly inspect the charging equipment for any signs of damage or wear – you may also wish to consider having an electrician inspect the electrical system to ensure it can handle the load of multiple charging devices. Ensure staff always unplug chargers once complete to avoid overheating.

4. No Overnight Charging: Prohibit overnight charging of electric scooters and bikes to minimize the risk of unattended charging and potential fire hazards.

5. Housekeeping: Don’t allow any fire exits, staircases or corridors to become blocked by e-bikes or e-scooters.

By implementing these precautions and measures, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with charging electric scooters and bikes on site, creating a safer workplace environment for your employees. However, if you have any further queries don’t hesitate to call our H&S advice on 0300 303 5228 or email us at

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