Fire hazards in the workplace not only cost your business a lot of money but can also lead to fatalities. Most of these accidents are often caused by mistakes that could be easily avoided.
We often tend to overlook the risks associated with workplace fires. We are confident that our workplace will never have to face a situation and are therefore not prepared for any worst-case scenarios. It’s important not to neglect workplace safety as simple measures can save your business and the lives of your employees.
Workplace fires are more common than we think. Hundreds of such incidents happen every year in Australia, leading to costly damages to businesses and some resulting in death. Businesses are often unable to fully recover from these accidents.
There are some simple preventive measures suggested by fire protection services that every organisation and workplace should take to avoid deadly fires. These simple measures will help prevent these accidents and keep you and your employees safe and sound.
1.Install Fire-Fighting Equipment
The first and the most important preventive measure to avoid fire accidents at your workplace is to install fire-fighting equipment. Fire extinguishers and sprinklers should be installed on all floors of your workplace.
The equipment should be placed at easily accessible spots so that anyone can access them immediately in case of a fire.
2.Keep the Workplace clutter-free
It is important to tidy up your workplace and keep it clutter-free. According to certified fire protection specialists, too much clutter can prevent you from reaching fire-emergency exits and/or equipment. It can also fuel a fire. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each employee to ensure that their area remains as clutter-free and accessible as possible.
3.Report Electrical Hazards
Short circuits are one of the main reasons for fire accidents in the workplace. Faulty wiring and malfunctioning electrical equipment can cause fires. Therefore, it is important to report any electrical hazards to the concerned department as soon as they are noticed. This can help prevent a possible workplace fire from ever happening and consequently save valuable life and property.
4.Install Smoke Detectors
Many workplace fires are noticed once damage has already been caused. This is because no one could see the fire until it reached them. This can easily be prevented by installing smoke detectors.
These devices detect smoke as soon as a fire erupts and will alarm everyone. They provide ample time for people to reach fire-fighting equipment or call for help. It is also important to get your smoke detectors tested and maintained from a fire protection service at least annually. This will ensure that they are fit for use when needed.
5.Follow Regular Maintenance Schedule for Machinery
The employers must ensure regular maintenance of any kind of machinery they have at their workplace. Machinery should be checked for any electrical damage that can lead to a short circuit which may cause workplace fire.
Regular maintenance of machinery will prevent problems like friction sparks and overheating. This can save your workplace from major fire accidents.
6.Store Chemicals Safely
If you work with chemicals, make sure you use and store them safely. Many workplace fires are also caused by improperly stored chemicals. Many chemicals are highly flammable and are a serious fire hazard if not stored the right way.
Therefore, chemicals must be used and stored only by the concerned employees and no one else should have access to them. There should also be adequate ventilation in the chemical storage area.
7.Proper Emergency Exits
The Australian law requires all workplaces to have proper emergency exits that can be used in case of any workplace emergency. These emergency exits become even more important in case a fire erupts at the workplace. Make sure that all the employees know about them.
The exit pathways should be properly lit using neon signs so that anyone can easily locate them in case of fire or any other accident.
8.Emergency Contact Information
All the employees at your workplace should have a list of numbers they can contact in case of an emergency. These numbers should also be in areas where everyone can easily see them. People usually panic in emergency situations and are unable to comprehend what to do. Emergency contact numbers and basic floor plans will help them stay calm and follow protocol during an emergency such as a fire.
Teach your employees to follow the A-C-T principle. They should
- Assess the Situation
- Choose their Response
- Take Necessary Action
This can help them prevent any major loss of property or life in a fire accident at their workplace.
Follow these simple measures so that you can keep your workplace safe for yourself as well as others. Don’t let sheer negligence get in the way. Install fire-fighting equipment through a fire protection service and make your employees aware of the preventive measures that can help them prevent workplace fires. A fire protection specialist can also help you design a plan to avoid fire accidents in the workplace.
Ken Thomas is the director at Total Fire Solutions, fire safety solutions provider in the Pacific Rim and one of the top 3 independent distributors for the Asia Pacific region. His vision is to create a ‘one stop shop’ fire protection company committed to NSW mining and heavy industry. He is passionate for and excited by the latest developments in fire protection technology.