Workplace fires and explosions kill about 200 and injure more than 5,000 workers each year. These disasters also cost businesses nearly $2 billion dollars in damages. The Occupation Safety and Health Administration has put standards in place to help prevent these occurrences and keep workers safe from fire related injury. Explosions and fires in the workplace can be extremely dangerous and you should take the necessary steps to ensure fire safety.
Here are some ways to keep your workplace safe from fires and explosions:
Accessibility: Electrical control panels need to be fully accessible as they are used to shut down power in case of an emergency. Be sure that all sprinklers, firefighting equipment, and emergency exits are not being blocked by other equipment and are clear.
Clean Workplace: Clutter and messy workstations can provide fuel for fires and can also prevent access to exits and emergency equipment. Throw out anything that can be a fire hazard in metal containers and be sure to empty regularly.
Proper Maintenance: Check and perform maintenance on machines regularly. It is a good idea to also keep a record of routine maintenance.
Report Electrical Hazards: If you notice something does not look right, immediately notify the proper person in your facility. Do not attempt any electrical repairs unless qualified to do so. REPORT, REPORT, REPORT!
Safe Chemical Use & Storage: When using and storing chemical materials, it is important to do so in an area with proper ventilation. Carefully read labels and the Material Safety Data Sheet to gauge flammability and other fire hazards of a substance. All employees must have the correct protective equipment for handling hazardous materials.
Take Precautions: Practice proper safety measures to prevent ignition in potentially explosive atmospheres. This includes areas that contain flammable liquid vapors or fine particles. The use of non-sparking tools and properly controlling static electricity will help prevent a serious fire or explosion.
Building Security: Be aware of your surroundings and building. Lock up doors and report any suspicious behavior. Do not leave any never leave ignitable debris outside or near your building.
Designated Smoking Areas: Provide employees a designated smoking area and that it is being used by all workers who smoke. Proper disposal of cigarettes and matches should be enforced. Provide appropriate receptacles for disposal of these flammable items.
Fire Extinguishers: Perform a safety check on all fire extinguishers often. If the equipment is damaged or not in proper working order, call for maintenance. It is also important to provide fire extinguisher training to all employees.
In Case of Emergency Plan: Emergency phone numbers and the company address should be posted by the phone station for easy and quick access. Clearly labeled exit signs should also be displayed by major exits in case of an emergency. Ensure that all workers are aware of all emergency exit plans and fire evacuation procedures. Conduct fire drills regularly and review your plan with a local fire company.