Basic Fire Safety Tips for Every Workplace
Fires in a workplace can affect the safety of employees and the public and therefore employees should be educated on preventative measures. All workers must be familiar with fire hazards and safety information, as well as precautionary measures to minimize potential casualties and property damage in the event of a fire. Although the nature of a business may dictate how your workplace should be prepared, here are the essential tips for ensuring safety and fire protection.
Common Fire Hazards
The main culprits in office fires are electrical, heating, and cooking equipment. Electrical problems resulting from workplace fires are caused by faulty equipment, overloaded outlets, and damaged wiring. Defective electrical appliances can cause fires in the workplace, and therefore it is necessary to check their integrity.
Overheating can cause fires in workplaces. Therefore, heaters should not be left unattended or near flammable substances, as they could start a fire. In addition, workplaces with kitchens must train their workers not to leave kitchen appliances unattended.
emergency safety precautions
Once an employee discovers a fire, they must raise an alert by pulling the fire alarm. Immediate evacuation of the building should calmly proceed to the fire escape and meet at an agreed point to check on the safety of co-workers. If you are trapped inside the burning building, ways must be found to prevent smoke buildup. Also, trapped people should look for ways to call for help through the windows and relax to slow their heart rate.
Advice on preparing the fire
First of all, as a means of fire prevention, the workplace must be kept clean and tidy to mitigate various threats, especially if you mainly handle flammable substances. Working with combustible materials such as paper and oily rags requires safe protection and away from open flames. Second, maintenance of faulty electrical wiring and equipment is essential to prevent fires. Therefore, the workplace must have an electrical expert to repair faulty appliances and connection to prevent sparking or overheating.
Also, minimize crowding in the control panel room to improve visibility and access during emergencies. The room should have visible markings to improve quick identification. Workplaces must install systems that promote the proper and safe storage of chemicals. Flammable chemicals include printing materials and products that are often kept in clean rooms. Therefore, workers must store all chemicals according to the manufacturer’s instructions and follow available safety data sheets.
Work environments with highly flammable substances, such as oxygen tanks, are susceptible to generating sparks from tools and smoking. Therefore, the erection of clear signs highlighting the dangers of smoking or using spark-producing tools in such areas is necessary. Other measures include labeling fire exits, restricting the use of some heaters, knowing the capacity of the workplace, and regularly testing alarms and detectors.
Lastly, make sure workplace safety and risk plans are approved. A detailed risk assessment consultation provides business continuity and protection of both life and property. In addition, risk assessments indicate areas that do not meet fire safety standards and propose necessary steps to improve fire safety.
The level of fire safety training employees receive determines their safety in the event of a fire. The types of occupation, in part, determine the necessary level of training. For example, electricians and welders need a high level of fire training, while office workers need regular training on prevention and safety. Employees must be aware of potential hazards and sources within the workplace, emergency exits, fire drills, and the use of a fire extinguisher.
Employers must conduct fire drills regularly to promote recognition and evacuation in the event of a fire. The exercises allow workers to identify errors and correct deficiencies in evacuation plans in due time. Management can hire fire marshals to oversee the drill and improve it.
All security equipment must be open, avoiding obstructions such as desks. Such devices include sprinkler systems, smoke detectors, fire escapes, alarms, and fire extinguishers. Management must place smoke detectors throughout the facility, test them regularly, and change batteries annually. Also, consistency of potential threats and equipment is necessary as each area requires different approaches to deal with the type of fire.
There are several types of suppression systems including dry chemical, wet chemical, and carbon dioxide. Dry chemical suppressants extinguish combustible liquids found in mechanical, storage, and furnace rooms. By contrast, wet chemical suppressants are a vapor foam that suppresses restart in areas like kitchens, while carbon dioxide is typically used in a computer or file room to contain a fire.
Fire extinguishers come in different classes depending on the fire they can extinguish. Class A is labeled with a green triangle and sprays ordinary combustible substances like paper and plastic, while Class B sprays flammable liquids like oil and paint. Classes C, D, and K extinguish live electrical appliances, combustible metal alloys, and cooking media such as grease. Some fire extinguishers can extinguish one or more types of fire or materials, such as ABC extinguishers.