A fire is never something people expect to happen at the workplace. Unfortunately, fires DO happen. In fact, over 100 fatalities a year are caused by fire and explosions in the workplace, and over $9 billion dollars of productivity losses are caused by fire damage and burns, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Education and fire prevention are the first steps in dealing with fire hazards.
This blog is a continuation of our previous blog post (which you can find here) where we shared fire safety tips in the home. Now, we’ll educate on fire safety at work.
There should already be a fire prevention plan in place at your business. It is a good idea to update this at the beginning of each year and to distribute it to employees, or at least to post it in key public locations. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), these plans should include:
It is also a good idea to know and distribute the company’s emergency action plan in the case that, despite all the precautions taken with the fire prevention plan, a fire does break out.
Holiday office decorations offer a chance to bring some color and cheer to the office during some of the darkest days of the year. However, they also present some additional fire hazards that are normally absent during the rest of the year. As employees begin to plug in the holiday lights that they’ve meticulously strung around their cubicles and the rest of the office, it is important to avoid overloading sockets or stringing extension cords together.
Also keep an eye out for the amount of paper decorations hung around the office. Notice how close they are to lights and other electrical sources. In the event of a fire, the paper decorations will only increase the spread of fire throughout the room.
Does your business have a designated smoking area? If yes, great! Is that designated area outside? If yes, not so great for those who have to withstand the winter chill. Employees will likely huddle close to the building for warmth and may not discard their cigarette butts appropriately. Try to designate a sheltered area for smokers, and take care that they have a easy, nearby place to dispose of their cigarette butts that is still a safe distance away from the building.
Having a holiday party? Make sure not to go over the occupancy limits of wherever the party is being held. If a room is filled over-occupancy, it is a fire hazard and could be deadly if a fire were to break out. When you throw a holiday party, it’s also important to know the locations of the nearest fire extinguishers and emergency exits.
One easy way to make sure your business is up to code and free of fire hazards is to keep an updated checklist. Items on this checklist might include, but are not limited to:
✓ Clearly marked emergency exits that are kept free from obstruction
✓ Update and post fire safety plan
✓ Conduct regular fire drills
✓ Update fire extinguisher and sprinkler systems
✓ Properly label flammable and hazardous materials
✓ Designate a meeting place in the event of a building evacuation
✓ Close doors when rooms are not occupied
The holiday season should be filled with joy and cheer. While it’s fine to roast chestnuts over an open fire with your friends, don’t let the fire spread to the office! Follow the above commercial fire prevention and commercial fire safety tips, and you’ll be well on your way to a safe holiday season.
Brenneco Fire Protection provides fire inspection and protection services throughout Central Indiana including the Greater Lafayette and Indianapolis areas. We partner with many different industries to ensure your fire safety through installation and inspection of various emergency systems.
We make it our top priority to answer your call for assistance and show up on time when you need us. Our expertise helps you eliminate downtime and keeps you employees and facilities protected.