Tips to Keep Your Business, Property, and Employees Safe in Case of Fire
When talking to people about what they fear, many will say fire.
In terms of what it can do to a building or worksite, fire can be devastating, resulting in the loss of assets, products,s or stock, or even worse- loss of life.
According to Fire and Safety Australia, less than 25% of people surveyed are aware of where the fire extinguisher is in their workplace.
This frightening statistic is even more worrying when you take into account that less than 50% of people know how to use a fire extinguisher correctly, according to the same study.
Because of this, it’s very important to have measures in place to ensure the safety of your property and employees.
In our constant endeavour to help keep you and your employees safe, this article will focus on some crucial tips for fire safety in your workplace.
Have An Effective Evacuation Strategy In Place
Ensuring the safety of your staff is paramount and the most proactive way to go about this is to have an evacuation strategy in place.
An effective evacuation strategy will help guide your employees out of danger. Having a plan to focus on in an emergency situation can help keep everyone calm during an evacuation.
Getting everyone out quickly and safely is the goal in this situation, so consider safety drills to reiterate this information with your staff on a regular basis.
Safety drills are an essential part of your evacuation strategy
Drills allow employees to practice responding to an emergency situation in a safe and secure environment. The emergency response needs to be fast but calm and effective in the event of a real fire.
These drills should include reviewing the role of each employee if an emergency should occur, as well as the location of important safety equipment, like fire extinguishers and emergency exits.
Equipment – Smoke Alarms, Sprinklers, Fire Extinguishers
The first line of defence against a potentially devastating fire is early detection.
Smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month to make sure they’re still working and effective.
Similarly, you should have a working sprinkler system installed by a professional. This is not the time for DIY- a sprinkler system can mean the difference between life and death, or even potentially saving valuable property.
Maintaining Your Electrics
Maintenance refers to machinery, buildings, and fire safety equipment.
Improper care of machinery or faulty wiring could cause an electrical fire at any point.
Machinery that overheats, wiring in buildings or in the machines themselves need very little in the way of optimum conditions to start a blaze, so these should be serviced and maintained with regularity.
Similarly, fire safety equipment should be serviced regularly too. In the event of a fire breaking out, a faulty fire extinguisher is worth no more than a paperweight.
A properly working fire extinguisher can save a life or prevent further damage to property (although they should only be used if it is safe to do so).
It should go without saying, but allowing employees to smoke onsite is a bit of a dicey game.
Smoking near hazardous and flammable materials could result in catastrophic fires with disastrous results.
If you have dangerous materials onsite, you may want to consider having a designated smoking area far from any potential hot spots.
Ensure any smokers dispose of their cigarette butts responsibly and properly to avoid accidental fires.
Fire hazards and accessibility
In many instances, fires can be prevented with some forethought and common sense.
There will always be many fire hazards on a construction site – hazardous materials, waste, and chemicals.
Anything that could cause a fire should be kept far from an open flame.
Waste and chemicals should be disposed of properly, and materials and chemicals should always be stored correctly and according to the appropriate guidelines. We discussed the importance of hazardous chemical storage in our August blog.
Proper access to fire safety equipment is also crucial.
Fire extinguishers and alarms should always be easy to access in the event of a fire.
While all of the steps above are crucial, they are all useless without policies and training.
Forewarned is forearmed.
If your staff are undertrained and unaware of the correct steps that they should take if a fire breaks out, the chance of property damage or loss, or worse- injury or death- is increased.
When it comes to fire, you can never be too prepared.
For more information about health and safety in the workplace, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.