Candles in the office?

I’m the IT manager at my company. Seeing as winter is coming, in the supervisor meeting today I expressed concern about the use of candles. I said that I thought they were rather dangerous because we are in a wooden building and we all work with large amounts of paper. I’m also concerned people will forget about them and go home. What I worry about most is a server destroying fire, though I do have a plan in place for that.

In any case, the other supervisors acted like my concern was the most ridiculous thing they ever heard, and even cracked a couple jokes at my expense.

So I guess this is a two question poll:

  1. Are candles allowed in your office?

  2. Do you think my concern is valid, or unreasonable?

  1. No.

  2. Valid

I keep a nice aromatic candle on my desk so I can smell it when I’m stressed, but I never light it. When I was at my last job, we were specifically told we couldn’t light candles, and I tried out one of those candle warmers. It ended up heating the candle so much that it spewed wax onto the wall. Definitely a fire hazard, and not much fun to clean up.

The other supervisors are idiots.

You are correct that candles are a bad idea.

It also might be against the fire code. (I have no idea; just something you might want to consider.)

No, and Valid.

I’m puzzled by “winter is coming” as a reason to address the issue of candles. Is it because windows will be closed and the workplace smells bad?

I was a fire officer when I worked at an office in London. All that really meant was that I had to ensure we complied with fire codes regarding hazards and evacuations. Anyhow:

  1. Candles would absolutely not have been allowed.

  2. Your concerns are reasonable IMO.

  1. Never asked, but I would be amazed if yes
  2. Of course

At my last job, I was put on the “safety committee.” Among my duties was going around and making sure people didn’t burn candles on their desks. The building itself wasn’t a firetrap, but it just isn’t safe. Add to that the fact that many people (myself highly placed among them) cannot tolerate the fragrance, and you have a recipe for pissing off your co-workers. (I did not volunteer to be on the committee to further my own goals in eradicating fragrance – people who wanted to keep unlit candles on their desks for their own enjoyment didn’t bother me any if they weren’t in my immediate area.)

Does your HR department have a safety plan? Maybe you could get a visit from Friendly Fireman Fred at one of your meetings. We had fire extinguisher training, reminders of not to let big piles of papers accumulate, not blocking exits, and – hey! no open flames in the office!

They don’t tend to burn them in the summer here, perhaps because it’s so warm. In the winter people put decorations up including candles, and they’re a popular gift. Some of the employees also sell them for their kids’ fund raisers in the fall.

Yes I allow my employees to have candles. (As long as I like the scent) :smiley:

Do I think you’re unreasonable? Well, I guess your concern is valid but I have every confidence that my employees will put them out before they leave and if they don’t, a coworker would notice it.

In any case, if your place burns down, at least you are on record with your disapproval.

  1. No and Hell no

  2. very valid

Does your company have any sort of safety policy? Because the only reason that not burning stuff in offices full of paper might not be on it is that no one considered that someone would do something that dangerous.

Candles on birthday cakes are a temporary exception.

  1. I’ve never even asked because it would absolutely never come up. Hell, no they aren’t allowed. I work at a biotech company and am on the safety comittee. Given that we have chemicals, biological materials, and radioactive materials in the building we have a pretty robust safety culture, and everyone is quite aware of what is and isn’t allowed.

  2. From your description of your workplace your concern sounds quite valid and reasonable. I could see them maybe being allowed in a small office or a family run business or something, but not at a larger company.

No candles.

Also no space heaters, private coffee makers, toaster ovens (even in common kitchen areas) and probably a few other things.

  1. Absolutely not
  2. Valid

Actually, the main reason I don’t allow them is the number of people that are almost guaranteed to hate the smell of any given scented candle.

We have an exception at my bookstore because the moron who designed it didn’t put ventilation in the bathroom, so we keep a scented candle in there. You know when to light it.

No candles. I am paranoid about fire.

I don’t know if we have a policy, but I’d be amazed if candles were allowed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a workplace where people burned candles. Your concerns are perfectly valid.

We overlook the space heaters here in my cubicle office, but no open flames other than cakes - then extinguished immediately, of course.

I would think that in a local bookstore or knicknack shop, for sho’, but nowhere professional…

  1. Ha! I’m lucky the still allow coffee in my office. They had a ban on common area (not just private) coffee makers at one point because they considered them a fire hazard. Candles are so out of consideration no one would dare suggest them. I still think they should take the 3rd floor cube farm’s toaster oven off of them. They’ve set off the fire alarm and evacuated 300 people three times because of burning bacon, toast, and toast.
    But then, our building is full flammable solvents.
    Well, not literally. That’d be a heck of a working environment.
    Are we safety minded? I’ve got a 500 page safety manual full of SOPs. There’s even a note on there about not carrying sharpened pencils as they’re a puncture hazard. It doesn’t mention candles. It doesn’t need to.

  2. Totally valid concern. In addition to the fire safety issue, there is an indoor air quality issue as well. I don’t like 50% of the scented candles I smell. Of course, when I’m queen of the universe I’m also outlawing perfumes and colognes as well.

I worked at a Legal Aid office. Many of our clients were homeless, mentally challenged, or just plain stinky. On my first day, I had an interview with a guy and as I was headed up front to meet him, my coworker said, “Oh, you’re meeting Carlos. Do you have a candle?” I thought that was weird until I reached the waiting room; then, katsu! Every office had a few candles in it, and they got used, safety hazard or no.

Are they a fire hazard? You bet:

While you might trust your employees to notice and put out a candle at the end of the day, I sure wouldn’t. I see Christmas lights, ceramic heaters and coffee pots left on all the time. We’ve moved away from the glass coffee pots on a heater, to insulated pots, mostly because of the pots being allowed to cook dry, and then shatter.


No candles and you do have a valid concern.

No candles, and yes it is a valid concern. As Tastes was saying, I wouldn’t trust your average office worker with staplers, much less open flames.