Employee Fire Safety and Training in the Workplace: Why is it Important?
Training in workplace fire safety provides a sense of preparedness to employees and employers which, in turn, can add value to the overall health of the organization.
Expenses incurred on fire safety training might look like a form of a luxurious cost; but trust me, they aren’t. It’s in fact a necessity.
Remember, you can never predict the occurrence of a fire. It can occur anytime, anywhere without any prior notice. The key to keeping it at bay is to prepare yourself for the worst. An effective training in fire safety can help you do that.
Possible hazards in business workplaces
Different industries pose different risks.
Now that’s pretty obvious I guess. A business who deals primarily in software will have comparatively low risks in comparison to that of a factory who deals specifically in inflammable fluids.
But there are still a few common factors that can play a major role in the occurrence of a fire in almost ANY form of industry. A few of them are:
- Combustible fluid stock (such as gasoline in pantry).
- Poorly maintained electrical circuits.
- Poor housekeeping.
Hazard recognition and prevention
To keep fire hazards at bay, you should know what to look out for.
I already highlighted a few of them up above for your reference. But what about the rest? You need to show some responsibility yourself to tackle these hazards in the best possible manner. Here are a few tips for you:
- Practice top notch housekeeping. Talk to your office manager about this. Make sure that your workplace is organized, clean, and free of clutter and combustible substances.
- ANY heat producing equipment (and that includes the likes of photocopiers and coffee makers) should be kept away from vulnerable materials that can catch fire in the blink of an eye.
- Ensure that wires and chords are in good working conditions. Most workplace fires occur as a result of faulty wiring.
- Power outlets should NEVER be overloaded.
- In case there’s a necessity to store inflammable fluids in workplaces for any reason whatsoever, make sure you store them in a safe zone so that they cannot be manhandled easily as a result of carelessness.
- Ensure that escape routes and emergency exits are cleared from all possible angles. Keep them unobstructed at all possible costs.
- Fire extinguishers should be current and should be inspected at regular intervals to ensure that they are in a top working condition.
- Communicate the hazards of on-site smoking to each and every employee. Have a designated smoking zone in workplace with proper precautionary fire measures to alleviate the dangers of workplace fire.
- Install smoke alarms on every floor. A small step like that can go a long way indeed.
- Keep emergency phone numbers at easily accessible places.
Why should your employees be trained in basic fire safety?
Fire hazards can have a significant impact on your business as a whole. It may result in huge losses of life and resources that may even cost the company its future.
Most businesses don’t even recover from their losses. Hence, it’s always advisable to take necessary steps at the beginning to prevent the occurrence of fire in long run. After all, prevention is always better than cure.
A basic employee training in fire safety can help to inculcate peace of mind in the workplace which, in turn, can hugely improve your workplace productivity.
So you can easily see that the positives are many. And hence, you should look at these training expenses as a form of an investment; an investment having high ROI.
Workplace fire prevention: A few tips
Installation of smoke detectors
The National Fire Protection Association recommends the use of smoke detectors in workplaces for maximum safety against destructive workplace fires.
It’s also advisable to install smoke alarms high on the wall (preferable on the ceiling) because smoke rises.
Using fire extinguishers
Your company HR policy must include a clause which should make it compulsory for your employees to know the basics of operating a fire extinguisher.
Remember the mnemonic “PASS” and make your employees aware of the same. It can assist them to remember the effective ways of operating a fire extinguisher.
- P- PULL the extinguisher pin. The nozzle must be held away from the body and then the pin needs to be removed for further operation.
- A- AIM low, specifically at the base of a fire.
- S- SQUEEZE the lever evenly and slowly.
- S- SWEEP the nozzle of the extinguisher from side to side.
Fire safety policies to implement in business workplaces
A structured fire safety policy must be followed in business workplaces to manage the risks of fire hazards in the best possible manner. Here are a few tips that your management can follow for this:
- Make basic fire safety training compulsory for each and every employee in your organization. Your organization should arrange the training themselves.
- Cigarette smoking must be permitted in designated smoking zones. Employees who don’t obey such rules must be penalized. You need to ensure that your employees stick to this rule at all possible costs.
- All employees should be aware of your building safety measures which should be inclusive of things like the emergency exits, location of fire extinguishers, fire alarms etc. Emergency phone numbers such as ambulance, fire station, police etc. should be placed in easily accessible locations.
- Convince your employees to report faulty wirings if they come across one. Such information can be priceless in certain circumstances and can aid a lot in a timely fix.
- Come up with an organized fire evacuation plan. Make sure everyone in your organization is aware of the plan from the very top to the bottom.
DO NOT ever take the risks of a fire lightly. It may hurt you real bad in case a situation crops out of nowhere. Hence, a contingency plan should always be kept in place to tackle the situation in the best possible manner.
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Katie Smith is a fire expert and her areas of interests and expertise include forensic science and accident or crime scene investigation related matters. She is associated with Auto Fire & Safety Consultant and often conducts fire investigation in Houston. Blogging is her hobby and she is also a consultant blogger, having well-accepted write-ups on a wide range of topics, such as general safety, security and safety equipment.Read Full Bio