Fire safety is an important workplace topic throughout the year. While death and injury are the greatest risks and the ones with which most people are familiar, fires also destroy jobs. In fact, many of the workplaces that are destroyed by fire are never rebuilt. Here are some general tips for a fire-safe workplace to share with your employees.
12 Ways to Prevent a Workplace Fire
Preventing fires is everyone’s job. We all need to be alert to anything that could cause a fire, and take responsibility to report any problem areas so they can be corrected. Here are some reminders about fire prevention:
- Practice good workplace housekeeping. Clutter contributes to fires by providing fuel and by preventing access to exits and emergency equipment.
- Place oily rags in a covered metal container. This waste must be properly disposed of on a regular basis.
- Maintain machinery to prevent overheating and friction sparks.
- Report electrical hazards. Many fires start in faulty wiring and malfunctioning electrical equipment. Never attempt electrical repairs unless you are qualified and authorized.
- Maintain free access to all electrical control panels. Material or equipment stored in front of the panels would slow down the shutting down of power in an emergency situation.
- Use and store chemicals safely. Read the label and the Material Safety Data Sheet to determine flammability and other fire hazards. Provide adequate ventilation when using and storing these substances.
- Use all precautions to prevent ignition in potentially explosive atmospheres such as those containing flammable liquid vapors or fine particles. Use non-sparking tools, and control static electricity as required.
- Help maintain building security to prevent arson fires. Lock up as instructed; report suspicious persons; and don’t leave combustible rubbish where it can be set afire outside the building.
- Smoke only in designated areas, and extinguish smoking materials safely. Never smoke in storerooms or chemical storage areas.
- Never block sprinklers, firefighting equipment or emergency exits. Observe clearances when stacking materials.
- Post emergency telephone numbers as well as the company address by the telephone in your station for quick access if a fire were to start in your work area.
- Learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher.