What steps are you taking to prevent fires in your workplace? According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over 200 workplace fires occur each year. Some of these fires are minor, but others are more serious and cause extensive property damage as well as bodily injury. By following a few basic fire safety tips, however, you can prevent fires in your workplace.
Fire Safety Tip #1) Avoid Common Fire Safety Violations
OSHA regularly cites businesses for fire safety violations. You need to avoid these violations in your workplace. Otherwise, your business could be hit with a fine or other penalties. Here are some of the most common fire safety violations.
- Fire exits not clearly marked
- Absence of fire exits on the premises
- Lack of fire alarms
- Malfunctioning or non-functional fire alarms
- Locked doors hindering escape
- Doors obstructed by items like boxes, machinery, tools, vehicles, or other equipment
- Absence of a fire plan
Fire Safety Tip #2) Keep Fire Extinguishers On-Site
Maintaining fire extinguishers at your workplace is an essential fire safety tip. Fire extinguishers, of course, are devices that are designed to put off or "extinguish" fires. Some of them contain a dry chemical, whereas others contain a powder chemical. When sprayed on a fire, they will put smother it with the chemical or dry chemical.
If you do decide to have fire extinguishers in your workplace, ensure that employees are trained in their proper usage. Surprisingly, different fire extinguisher models can have varying mechanisms and functions. Additionally, it's wise to periodically test the fire extinguishers to confirm their operational status.
Fire Safety Tip #3) Develop an Emergency Action Plan
An emergency action plan does exactly what it sounds like – it guides employees and personnel toward the appropriate evacuation route in case of a fire. Employers should create a detailed emergency action plan that outlines evacuation paths, communication methods, alert systems and the delegation of crucial responsibilities, including medical and rescue duties.
For further insights into fire safety in the workplace, refer to the official OSHA fact sheet available here. It's brimming with practical advice on establishing a secure, OSHA-compliant work environment while mitigating the risk of fires.
Fire Safety Tip #4) Be Conscious of Flammable Materials
If you have any flammable materials in your workplace, you should store them in a safe place. Avoid storing flammable materials near heat sources. Flammable materials must be kept away from all heat sources. Depending on the specific type of material, you may want to choose a fireproof cabinet in which to store it. Fireproof cabinets are designed to withstand extreme heat so that their contents remain protected from fires.