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Fire Safety Tips to Improve Workplace Safety

Fire Safety Tips to Improve Workplace Safety

Fire hazards abound in the workplace, and can result in severe injury or death. Fires can also result in substantial economic loss or even job losses and loss of livelihoods if a workplace is destroyed by a fire and is not rebuilt due to financial infeasibility. Heeding some basic fire safety tips can help prevent fires in the workplace and improve worker safety. [caption id="attachment_798" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Following basic fire safety tips can prevent explosions and improve worker safety Puerto Rico Gas Fire[/caption] The responsibility for preventing a fire in the workplace should be shared by everyone who works there. Both employers and employees should be aware of fire hazards and take steps to reduce the risks. Employers need to ensure that staff are properly trained and are equipped with the necessary safety equipment, and employees need to be aware of anything that can potentially start a fire, and report potential problems to their supervisors so that these problem areas can be addressed.

5 Fire Safety Tips for the Workplace

By following the 5 fire safety tips below you can reduce fire risks in your workplace.
  1. Ensure good housekeeping practices in the workplace. Reduce clutter, which not only provides fuel for fires, but also restricts access to emergency exits and firefighting equipment – make sure that these are not blocked by equipment or stored materials, and are freely accessible in the event of a fire. To allow power to be shut down quickly in the event of a fire, also ensure that electrical control switches are easily accessible and not blocked by stored equipment, materials or packaging.
  2. Make sure that all machinery and electrical equipment is properly maintained to prevent it from overheating or from causing sparks as a result of friction or faulty wiring. If any electrical hazards are detected, report these to a supervisor immediately so that they can be attended to promptly. Never undertake electrical repairs if you are not qualified to do so.
  3. Ensure that chemicals are used appropriately and safely stored when not in use. Make sure that chemicals are correctly labeled and contain the necessary Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) information related to their handling, and heed instructions related to their flammability and potential fire risk. Ensure that flammable chemicals are used and stored in a well ventilated area, and that oil soaked rags are placed in a sealed metal container and are regularly disposed in an appropriate manner.
  4. Take precautions to avoid sparks by using non-sparking machinery and tools and by controlling static electricity in areas that are potentially explosive, such as areas where flammable liquids are being used or stored, which could give rise to flammable vapors. Heed 'no smoking' signs and never light up in confined areas where chemicals are stored – restrict smoking to designated smoking areas where it is safe to do so, and ensure that cigarettes are put out and disposed of properly. Use specialized equipment, such as a combustible gas detector, to monitor explosive gases in areas where these gases can accumulate.
  5. Ensure that fire prevention safety posters and procedures are prominent in hazardous areas, and that workers are aware of the fire prevention safety and emergency procedures. Make sure that fire extinguishers are available, that they are regularly serviced, and that staff know how to use one in the event of a fire. Ensure that telephone numbers of emergency responders, including the nearest fire department, are posted near the telephone in work areas, together with the street address of the workplace to direct emergency responders to the premises quickly in an emergency.

What To Do in the Event of a Fire

Fires in the workplace can be devastating to a company and to its staff. Take precautions to improve worker safety and prevent fires by following the fire safety tips above, and ensure that workers know what to do in the event of a fire by:
  • Ensuring that your workplace has an emergency plan in place;
  • Providing workers with adequate training in fire prevention and emergency procedures;
  • Providing workers with the necessary safety equipment if working in high risk areas;
  • Conducting regular fire drills if the risk of fire is high.

  Featured Image By Yuisa Rios, FEMA Photo Library [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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