Maintaining a safe work environment includes a quality workplace fire prevention program. October is fire safety month, making this a great time to review your fire safety program. Here are 5 workplace fire safety tips to get you started!
#1 Minimize Workplace Fire Hazards
The key to effective workplace fire safety is being able to recognize and eliminate potential fire hazards before they become an issue. When you and your team know what to watch for, your team can work together to keep your workplace safe.
- Report any electrical hazard you spot. Faulty or bad wiring is a major fire hazard. If employees see any kind of electrical hazard in the workplace, it’s important to report it immediately.
- Do not overload outlets and circuits. Only plug in appliances and electronics that are being used, and be sure to use outlets that are not overloaded. Plugging too many items into one circuit can cause the circuit to overload, which is a fire hazard.
- Do not use damaged electrical outlets or cords. If you spot a damaged electrical outlet or cord, it’s important to throw it away immediately. Frayed cords and exposed wires can be deadly.
- Ensure proper storage of flammable materials. If your company handles flammable materials, they may need to be stored in a flammables cabinet. Certain chemicals cannot be stored by each other or they may combust.
- Keep combustibles away from electrical equipment. Piled up trash and recycling are combustible fire hazards. Keep trash, recycling, and any other combustibles, like stacks of paper away from electrical equipment that could cause a fire.
#2 Pay Attention to Fire-Prone Areas
Many workplaces have areas that are more fire-prone than others. Common fire-prone areas include:
- The employee break room or kitchen, which typically includes appliances like a toaster, coffee pot, or microwave.
- Large electrical storage rooms, such as the server room.
- Laboratories and other designated areas containing hazardous or flammable materials.
Workers must take additional care in these spaces and unplug any electrical equipment or appliances when not in use. Ensure proper storage of flammable materials, as they need to be kept away from high-heat environments and should not be stored near incompatible items.
#3 Keep Exits Clear & Mark Emergency Exits
Emergency exits must be kept clear at all times. It’s also important to ensure that emergency exit diagrams are posted and emergency exit signs are well lit. Maintain these items accordingly and address any issues undermining visibility immediately.
#4 Properly Maintain Your Workplace Fire Detection and Suppression System & Fire Extinguishers
The best defense against any workplace fire is your workplace’s fire detection and suppression system. Your building should have a regular testing and maintenance schedule, depending on the type of fire suppression system installed.
Similarly, portable fire extinguishers are also an important piece of equipment. Ensure the appropriate number and type of fire extinguishers are available based on the hazards present in your workplace. In order to be successful using fire extinguishers:
- Conduct monthly inspections to verify they are charged and ready for use
- Make sure they are not blocked or obscured from visibility
- Provide designated employee training
With equipment available and maintained, your workplace will have the hardware it needs to go along with the training required to effectively combat a potential incident.
#5 Educate Employees on Your Fire Safety Procedures & Evacuation Plan
Every workplace should have a unique fire safety procedure and evacuation plan. It’s important to make sure your employees have access to regular, updated fire safety training that is tailored to the fire hazards present in your workplace. Take time to educate your employees on fire safety guidelines and practice your workplace evacuation plan according to OSHA’s guidelines. Your fire safety procedure may include:
- Designate and assign the roles needed for your workplace fire evacuation plan.
- Schedule recurring fire evacuation drills, according to your industry and local fire safety requirements.
- Establish an employee check-in location.
Implementing these workplace fire safety tips through education, observation and inspection can help reduce the potential of a fire incident.
When it comes to safety, the best defense against incidents is being proactive. eSafety is here to give you the general awareness information you need to build a knowledgeable and positive safety culture around fire safety and prevention. With 70+ courses, including fire extinguisher safety, our training library can provide the foundation your team needs to implement a comprehensive workplace safety program. To learn more about our courses, contact our team online, or request a free quote today!