Fire safety at work is paramount since many businesses are prone to fires. Business fires can be devastating, destroying lives and property worth billions of dollars. According to the US Fire Administration, over 100,000 fires were reported in the United States between 2014 and 2016. As a result of these fires, 90 people died on average per year, 1,350 were injured, and $2.4 billion was spent on firefighting.
So, are you prepared to handle fire accidents in your workplace? There is never a better option than prevention when it comes to fires. Everyone in the building needs to take responsibility for keeping the work environment safe in order to prevent fires.
Consider the Risk Factors of Your Facility
The responsibility of checking the unique risk factors of the workplace environment lies on the shoulders of the business owner. As a business owner, you should identify items on your property that could cause a fire, such as electric equipment, heat appliances, combustible materials, and flammable liquids. Consider these hazards and devise a plan to minimize the impact of fire if it occurs. You can hire a professional or have safety personnel on staff who are trained to identify and minimize risks to ensure a thorough check.
Train Your Staff
According to a recent survey, 74% of respondents have never used a fire extinguisher. Sadly, some of these people may work for you. In order to keep your workers and your building safe, you must conduct fire safety training for them. Make sure everyone knows how to respond to fires and how to use fire extinguishers.
It is also important to ensure that everyone knows how to access the building’s emergency exits. Conduct fire drills as often as possible and let them see the importance of these drills to prepare themselves ahead of a fire occurring. To make the training more effective, you can collaborate with your local fire department.
Conduct Regular Fire Alarm Testing and Inspection
In order to protect your building from fires, you must have the right tools. However, no matter how sophisticated these tools are, they are useless if they do not work. Therefore, you need to test them at intervals to see if they are working fine. You should test the following emergency equipment periodically:
Fire Extinguishers: It is ideally advisable to service your fire extinguisher once a year. Additionally, you should visually inspect them each month to ensure they will work in a fire.
Emergency Exits Lighting: People can use these lights to escape buildings during fires. It’s essential to ensure that they work well and can offer sufficient light during emergencies.
Fire Sprinkler System: Having a sprinkler system in place can make all the difference when it comes to suppressing and extinguishing large fires. Therefore, it’s vital to have them inspected and tested by professionals semi-annually or annually, depending on local fire codes.
Fire Alarm System: In the event of a fire emergency, the fire alarm system alerts people in the building and the local fire department. Like the other equipment, the fire alarm system must also be tested and inspected regularly by professionals.
In addition, here are some general tips:
- Chemicals and flammable objects should be stored away from heat sources.
- A clear and accessible emergency exit should always be available.
- Cords and cables should not be plugged into too many power outlets.
- Declutter your workspace as often as you can because clutter can become fuel in fire incidents.
- Ensure that damaged cords are immediately removed or replaced.