Fire safety is vital everywhere, and workplaces are no exception. Not only can a fire injure and kill people, it can also destroy factories and offices. Many premises that are gutted by fire never reopen, meaning multiple job losses, with the knock-on effect in the community.
Reducing the risk of fire, and making sure any fire is dealt with properly if it does occur, is everyone’s responsibility, from the visiting cleaners to the CEO. This is how everyone can do their bit.
Tidy up regularly
If clutter is allowed to accumulate, it not only provides fuel for a fire, but it can get in the way of escape routes and obscure fire extinguishers.
Beware the oily rags
If your business involves oily rags, or towels, then make sure they’re kept in a covered metal container before they go into the laundry. It’s possible for oil-impregnated material to spontaneously combust, so make sure fabrics are laundered and waste materials are disposed of as soon as possible.
Use thermal imaging cameras
If your workplace uses furnaces or other high-temperature equipment, it can be hard to tell if something’s too hot for safety. A thermal imaging camera, like the ones developed by Andor, can trigger an alarm if equipment gets dangerously hot.
Look after machinery
Well-maintained machines are simply safer.
Note and report electrical problems
If anyone sees dodgy-looking wiring, or sparks, or smells electrical burning, it should be reported and dealt with immediately by a qualified electrician.
Keep electrical control panels clear
This means that a machine can be shut down if it starts emitting sparks or smoke. A few seconds’ delay in reaching the panel could mean flames rather than just sparks.
Store chemicals appropriately
Read the safety data information and follow instructions, especially with flammable compounds. Make sure there’s enough ventilation to prevent a build-up of fumes, and don’t use any tools or machines that create sparks anywhere near these chemicals.
Lock everything up as you’re supposed to, look out for suspicious people and don’t leave piles of combustible waste or material outside.
Use the smokers’ areas
Only smoke in designated areas and make sure cigarettes are properly extinguished. Never smoke inside.
Leave sprinklers, fire extinguishers and fire exits clear at all times
Never leave something “just for a minute” in the way.
Place the company address by the phones
This means newer workers or visitors can give this information to the fire brigade with the minimum of delay.
Learn how to use a fire extinguisher
As well as how to match the right extinguisher to the right type of fire.
Have a regular fire drill
Fire drills save lives and you should have one several times a year.
First of all, sound the alarm.
Everyone should have a role in case of a fire – one person dials 999, another helps people with mobility problems, while another shuts down machinery, for example. If it’s a small fire, then a trained person can attempt to fight it with an appropriate extinguisher, but only if he or she has a clear escape route.
Everyone should make their way to the assembly area outside the building.