In many workplaces, fire safety is not a top priority in day to day business activities. There are meetings to attend, clients to deal with, and employees to manage. Fire safety is often forgot about or pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring that your employees are safe. This means you need to prepare for a fire and make it a priority. Having safety measures in place allows you to go about your work with peace of mind that your workplace is protected from a fire.
Fire Prevention Plan
According to OSHA, if your workplace has more than 10 employees, you must have a fire prevention plan in writing, available for everyone to see. Employees must have access to the prevention plan and the employer should review it with them to ensure that they know how to prevent a fire. A fire prevention plan must include a list of all major fire hazards with details on proper handling and their respective fire protection equipment. It must also include the job title or name of employees who are responsible for maintaining equipment to prevent fires and who are responsible for controlling fuel hazards. The plan should also have procedures for controlling flammable materials and for maintenance of safeguards on heat-producing equipment. Employers must review the fire prevention plan and inform employees of the fire hazards they may be exposed to and the duties that are their responsibility.
Emergency Exits and Evacuation Routes
Emergency exits and evacuation routes are necessary for people within a building to leave safely and quickly to escape from a fire. The number of emergency exits and evacuation routes depends on the number of people in the building, the size of the building, and the set-up of the building. Evacuation routes must allow the building occupants to leave safely and promptly. Emergency exit doors are required to be approved fire doors that shut automatically and be fire resistant. Evacuation routes must be free of obstructions and provide a clear path for people to use. Emergency exit doors must be clearly visible and labeled.
Fire Protection System
To add an additional layer of protection, a fire protection system should be installed in your workplace. Depending on the building code requirements, your building may need sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, and fire extinguishers. A fire protection system will protect employees and property and limit the damage caused which will minimize downtime. As an employer, you should be familiar with the fire protection systems in your building and know how the equipment works.
All of the above fire prevention measures would be useless without proper training of employees. Employees must be trained on the fire prevention plan and how to handle possible hazards in the workplace. They also must know the evacuation route they must take if a fire does break out so they can leave the building safely. Also, they must be trained on how to use fire protection equipment such as extinguishers. Some fire protection companies will offer training on the equipment that they install in your building.
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