Fire Safety In The Workplace
Taking steps for fire prevention in the workplace is highly important to keep your employees safe and avoid major property damage. Every year there are roughly 17,000 workplace fires that cause over $800 million in fire damage, forcing businesses to close sometimes for months. Creating a plan and learning how to reduce the risk of fires in the workplace can help keep your workplace safe & open.
How To Reduce Risk of Fires in The Workplace
Conduct Training in Fire Safety For Employees
Train employees how to use fire extinguishers, proper handling and storage of flammable liquids or chemicals, and make sure they know what to do in the event of a fire. It is also wise to assign a person to oversee fire safety in the building who has a clear understanding of conditions that could cause a fire and what to do if it happens.
According to FEMA, you should teach employees the following protocol in case of a fire emergency:
- Call 911
- Notify others in the building of the fire
- Do not use the elevator. Walk out of the building, don't run
- If employees cannot evacuate, teach them the following:
- Seal door gaps with jackets
- Wait at the window for help and make it clear you are stuck
- Remain calm
Identify Any Fire Risks In The Building
Many fires can be prevented before they ever start. Inspect the following common workplace fire hazards and make sure that they are working properly, not damaged, or are properly stored away:
- Cooking Appliances - Leave enough room behind ones that heat up to cool down and keep them away from flammable materials.
- Electrical Wiring - Outdated or overloaded electrical wiring and power strips pose a large electrical fire hazard.
- Heating Appliances - When not working properly, these have the possibility of misfiring or exploding.
- Flammable Liquids - Make sure that employees are storing and disposing of these correctly, away from any heating sources or possible sparks.
- Clutter - Areas cluttered with papers, dust, or other flammable materials should be tidied up to help prevent the spread of a fire should one occur.
Clearly Post Emergency Exits & Evacuation Plans
In case of a fire, you want even those who are not familiar with your building to be able to easily evacuate. Make sure that that there are also emergency exits that are accessible for people who are disabled.
Install a Fire Suppression System
Installing a sprinkler system in your workplace can help stop a fire in its tracks and give employees extra time to evacuate the building. This will also help to prevent major fire damage to your property.
Regularly Test Smoke Alarms
Your fire alarm system is a hugely essential asset in fire safety in the workplace, notifying employees of a fire. These are even more important when a workplace does not have a sprinkler system installed to automatically put out a fire.
Establish Designated Smoking Areas
If there is anywhere in your business where people should not be smoking due to flammable materials, clearly post it. Then, choose an area that is not directly next to the building where there are no fire hazards for employees to smoke.
Following these tips and creating a fire prevention plan for you workplace is an easy, preventative task to keep your business up and running. Be sure to consult the OSHA guidelines for your industry and check if there are any other steps your workplace is required to take as this varies.