Fire Safety In The Workplace

Fire Safety In The Workplace



Fire Safety in​ the​ Workplace
The lights flicker .​
There is​ a​ growing smell of​ something burning and suddenly your work space is​ plunged into darkness .​
Acrid smoke begins to​ sting your eyes and interfere with your breathing .​
Your first thoughts are of​ fire!
Suddenly your mind is​ flooded with questions like,​ Where is​ the​ smoke coming from? What's burning? Where is​ the​ fire? How fast will it​ spread? is​ help on​ the​ way? What should I​ do? Should I​ call someone? is​ there a​ fire alarm anywhere nearby? Should I​ try to​ evacuate? What's the​ safest escape route? When you left for work this morning you didn't expect anything like this .​
Now you're asking what could be life or​ death questions and you aren't coming up with answers.
No one ever expects an​ emergency - especially one that happens to​ them .​
But the​ reality is​ that an​ emergency like fire can happen to​ anyone at​ anytime .​
You and your employees and coworkers could be called upon to​ answer questions like those listed above when you least expect it.
To protect yourself,​ your workers and your business,​ you must have a​ plan .​
First,​ you need a​ plan to​ help prevent a​ fire emergency from happening in​ the​ first place .​
But since even the​ best prevention plan isn't fool proof you must have a​ plan to​ protect personnel and minimize damage to​ property in​ the​ event of​ a​ fire.
Preparing an​ Action Plan
An effective action plan begins with brainstorming worst-case scenarios .​
Assemble a​ team of​ managers and key employees to​ identify the​ areas where a​ fire would cause the​ most damage,​ present the​ greatest danger to​ personnel,​ spread most rapidly or​ be most likely to​ start in​ the​ first place .​
Your plan should be specifically tailored to​ your workplace .​
To ensure maximum safety in​ an​ emergency,​ it​ may be necessary to​ develop separate plans for different areas or​ departments .​
Some areas may be more vulnerable to​ fire potential or​ be less accessible by emergency workers.
The fire emergency action plan developed by your team should cover actions that must be taken by the​ employer,​ managers and employees to​ ensure personal safety and include information about all potential sources for fire risk .​
It will be important to​ complete a​ comprehensive hazard assessment to​ determine what environmental conditions,​ chemicals or​ flammable liquids in​ your workplace may create areas of​ potential risk.
What an​ Action Plan Must Include
Method for reporting a​ fire
Evacuation plan and procedures
Escape procedures and route assignments - strategically placed maps of​ floor plans with clearly marked escape routes,​ safe areas and post-evacuation meeting areas .​
List of​ names,​ titles,​ departments and telephone numbers of​ people within your business or​ department .​
This list should also include emergency contact information for all listed personnel .​
List describing and explaining the​ duties and responsibilities of​ key personnel during a​ fire emergency
Procedures for employees who perform or​ shut down critical operations before evacuating,​ operate fire extinguishers or​ other emergency equipment .​
Rescue and medical duties key workers are designated to​ perform
Alerting Employees
Your action plan must address how employees will be alerted in​ an​ emergency and how to​ report emergencies .​
This alert and evacuation plan must also take into consideration alerting and evacuating disabled workers.
Alarms must be distinctive and recognized by all employees as​ a​ signal to​ evacuate or​ perform emergency procedures as​ specified by the​ action plan .​
Make emergency communications systems like a​ public address system,​ portable radio units and other tools of​ communication for notifying employees available and easily accessible .​
Designate key personnel as​ having the​ responsibility to​ contact the​ fire department and local law enforcement .​
Alarms must be able to​ be heard and seen by all employees .​
Consider installing an​ auxiliary power supply in​ the​ event there is​ a​ power failure.
Evacuation Plan and Procedures
In the​ event an​ emergency evacuation is​ necessary,​ a​ disorganized evacuation in​ the​ absence of​ a​ plan can result in​ undue risk to​ employees and may result in​ confusion and injury .​
a​ carefully developed action plan must spell out the​ following:
Conditions under which an​ evacuation is​ necessary
Clear chain of​ command designating who is​ authorized to​ order an​ evacuation,​ evacuation coordinators and the​ duties for which they are responsible .​
Clear evacuation procedures including evacuation routes and emergency exits .​
These procedures must be posted in​ locations that are easily accessible to​ all employees .​
Evacuation routes must be clearly marked .​
Procedures for assisting people with disabilities or​ who do not speak English
a​ system to​ account for personnel following an​ evacuation .​
Employee Training
Employees should be trained in​ these areas:
Individual roles and responsibilities
Notification,​ warning and communications procedures
Emergency response procedures
Evacuation and accountability procedures
Location and operation of​ emergency equipment including,​ but not limited to,​ fire extinguishers,​ fire hoses,​ breathing apparatus,​ fire doors and fire blankets
Emergency shutdown procedures
First aid
Conduct regular practice drills
Schedule annual fire safety training classes for employees and new hires
Update procedures to​ reflect changes in​ your company and facility
Fire prevention,​ safety in​ the​ workplace and an​ effective emergency response plan is​ the​ responsibility of​ every employer and employee .​
Development of​ a​ comprehensive action plan,​ alarm system,​ evacuation plan and employee training are essential in​ creating a​ safe work environment.
For more information about fire safety in​ the​ work place check the​ OSHA web site at​ www.osha.gov or​ phone the​ OSHA Training Institute,​ Office of​ Training and Education at​ (847) 297-4810.




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