The second week in October, National Fire Prevention Week, offers a good reminder that no industry is immune to fire.
In a work setting, whether an office or highly-combustible industrial workplace like a factory, warehouse or manufacturing plant, housekeeping is crucial to fire prevention. Areas with hazardous materials, combustible dust, arc welders or flammable liquids require special attention.
Following are some basic tips every employee should know:
- Keep combustible materials in the work area only in amounts needed for the job; store the rest in a safe area
- Store quick-burning materials in designated locations away from ignition sources
- Change clothes if they become contaminated with flammable liquids
- Keep passageways and fire doors free from obstructions
- Stairwell doors should be kept closed - Never store items in stairwells
- Keep materials at least 18 inches (24 to 36 inches is recommended) away from automatic sprinklers, fire extinguishers and sprinkler controls
- Clearance of 3 feet is required between materials and the ceiling; if stock is piled more than 15 feet high, clearance should be doubled
- Don’t overload circuits, turn off machines at the end of the day and report hazards in electrical areas immediately
- Make sure your fire prevention plan is in writing and available for employees to view, which is an OSHA requirement if an organization has more than 10 employees
Is the Message of Fire Safety Falling on Deaf Ears?
Sometimes a fire-safety message can become “white noise” to employees. After it’s repeated multiple times in the same way, they tend to tune it out. But research shows when employees are interested and engaged, they retain the information.
This training specialist offers some advice on keeping fire safety training interesting:
- Combine traditional classroom learning with hands-on training
- Make the training imitate real life by conducting R.A.C.E. training (Rescue, Alert, Confine, Extinguish)
- Set up scenarios in places employees face the greatest risk from fire (kitchen, shop floor, etc.)
- Add authenticity to your training by using a non-toxic smoke generator or a digital fire
Resource: National Safety Council - Safety Spotlight