There are thousands of office fires every single year due to causes such as arson, faulty wiring, appliances, and neglect. Most fires can be prevented or at least contained with the right safety equipment and prevention plan. Whether it’s replacing old equipment or having new wiring put in, workplace fire safety improvements is always worth the time and effort. Consider the consequences of a fire: potential loss of lives, possible injuries, lawsuits, loss of equipment, loss of important documents, and loss of jobs.
Here are some of the things you can do to make workplace fire safety improvements.
- Make sure you have a good sprinkler system installed and that it’s in good condition. Annual inspection is essential. The water should be able to come out freely, which means there should be no blockages such as paint or stacking materials.
- Have fire extinguishers set up in accordance with fire codes. The requirements vary depending on the type of building, location, and size so check with your local fire station or by law office. Extinguishers come in a variety of sizes and quantities. Some are portable and some are stationary. Everyone who works in the building should learn how to operate them.
- Know where all of the fire equipment and safety systems are located in the building as well as how to use them properly. In addition to the sprinklers and the extinguishers, you should also know where all of the smoke detectors and/or heat detectors and alarm monitoring services are and ensure regular maintenance.
- There should be no clutter around emergency exits and fire extinguishers. Do not place any object in front of electrical control panels, as access to the panels should be free at all times.
- All machinery, no matter how small, should be maintained in order to prevent sparks and/or overheating. Have your employees report any cracked or broken electrical cords right away so that they can be replaced.
- Workplace fire safety improvements can be as simple as storing chemicals safely and securely. Read the data sheet and instructions so that you’ll be able to use them properly. Chemicals that are flammable should be stored in areas with adequate ventilation.
- Establish a meeting place in the event of an evacuation and make sure that everyone knows where it is. This place should be a considerable distance away from the building so that everyone is away from debris and glass. Establishing a meeting place will make it so that everyone will be accounted for. This makes things a lot easier on the fire department personnel.
- Always be on the lookout for the following hazards: missing fire safety equipment, blocked stairways, open emergency exit doors, exit lights that have burned out, misplaced hazardous items, and malfunctioning electrical equipment. Never attempt to fix any malfunctioning equipment or faulty wiring yourself unless you have the qualification and authorization.
Making workplace fire safety improvements doesn’t have to be difficult – it can actually be easy if you are observant and cautious, and train your employees to be as well. Regular maintenance and inspection of fire safety equipment, electrical equipment and machinery can go a long way in protecting the workplace as well.