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Safety at Work: Stop That Fire Before It Starts!

written by: V!kas Shukla•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 6/30/2011

You know how important it is to keep the workplace safe and secured. Fire is a big threat to the safety of employees, buildings, machinery, everything. Let me share some very useful workplace fire safety tips with you to make sure that you can take every step possible to prevent fire.

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    Consider the Following Measures and Ensure Safety

    Fire at workplace is a situation that you never want to go through. Job losses, injuries and, worst of all, deaths can occur if preventiveWorkplace fire  measures are not taken. Do not let the fire threaten you. Come forward and take these steps to keep the fire away from your workplace

    1. Know Where the Fire Alarms, Fire Extinguishers and Exits are Located.

    Usually fire extinguishers and alarms are placed on every floor. You should know exactly where they are located so in case of emergency you can grab the nearest one. Learn how the fire alarms work. Try to find a landmark for the exit path that you can easily remember. If you know a landmark, you can easily navigate during evacuation even if there is darkness in the corridor. Also a highlighted ‘exit’ sign guides everyone to escape from the danger.

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    2. Check the Extinguishers Regularly

    You can’t rely on a fire extinguisher that doesn’t work. Knowing where these are kept is useless if they fail to make it during emergency. Get the extinguishers regularly inspected. There are also certain things that you can do to ensure the safety. Check the pressure gauge of the extinguisher, if the needle is on green part then it’s fully charged and ready to use. Also look at the date it was last inspected. If it has been more than eight months, contact the fire prevention services company to get it inspected.

    3. Don’t Keep Objects Near Emergency Equipments

    Never keep anything in front of fire prevention equipment. Access to these instruments should be unobstructed. Absolutely no time should be taken before you can use these tools whenever needed. Make sure that there is no kind of object placed in any of the stairwells or near the exits. They are supposed to be the safe zones to escape out of the fire place. If, unfortunately, there is left something near these places, the life of people might be at risk.

    4. Fire Sprinklers Should Not Be Blocked

    Fire sprinklers need at least 18 inches of space in order to disperse the water properly. Therefore keep all objects a minimum of 18 inches below the sprinkler.

    5. Avoid Storing Inflammable Materials

    Do not make your work area a warehouse for flammable liquids. If they are required as a raw material, keep them in the minimum quantities necessary. Check whether the containers are sealed tightly and then store them away from any heat sources. The more you accumulate them, the higher is the risk.

    6. Prevent Machines from Overheating and Friction Sparks

    Maintaining your machinery properly avoids the risk of fire. In fact, overheated machines are the major cause of workplace fire accidents. Keep them clean, and lubricating them regularly eliminates the chances of friction that could spark a fire. Following the operating guidelines is another good idea to maintain the machinery.

    7. Don’t Smoke When at Work

    Smoking is not only injurious to your health, it’s equally deleterious to your work area. If you do have to smoke, observe these precautions:

    • A company usually has a designated area for smoking. Use it. Do not sneak out for a quick smoke near a shed or storage area.
    • Extinguish the cigarettes and matchsticks completely.
    • Make sure that the ashtrays are emptied only when the debris and cigarettes in it are extinguished.

    8. Do Not Overload the Electric Wiring

    Electric wires are capable of carrying a reasonable load. Operating multiple outlet devices from a single outlet overloads the wiring, which in turn overheats and causes fire. Many a time fires start due to faulty wiring and malfunctioning equipment. Bring it to the notice of authority and get it repaired. Never try repairing equipment by yourself unless you hold the qualification and authority to do so. Read the follwing article to acquire more idea about electrical fire protection systems.

    9. Have a Pre-Planned Emergency Exit Strategy

    This is the most important thing on the list. Conduct a fire drill at least every six months. Make sure that each and every employee knows his role in case of emergency. Every employee will perform his job and the danger can be controlled or diminished in an organized fashion.

    10. What to Do When You Witness Fire

    What to Do? Having a clear idea of appropriate steps to be taken is an absolute necessity. Sound the fire alarm to warn everyone of danger so that people can escape. Shut down all the machines and equipment as soon as you can. Call the emergency numbers for help. If you have received training, you can choose an extinguisher and keep the exit route clear of fire. Ask everyone to assemble outside of the site so that nobody gets trapped and in trouble.

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    References

    1- Health and Safety Executive, Government of UK, http://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/workplace.htm

    2- Health and Safety Authority, Ireland, http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Topics/Fire/

    Image Credits

    1- freedigitalphotos.net/suataman, http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Manufacturing_And_In_g199-Industry_p6170.html

    2- freedigitalphotos.net/suataman, http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Manufacturing_And_In_g199-Industrial_Flame_p4570.html