How To Promote Fire Safety In Your Workplace?
Like our homes, workplaces are also prone to fires. The workplace includes our office buildings, construction sites, laboratories, industrial cabins, etc. Every place has a risk of fire breakout that can lead to massive destruction. The reason could be anything like an electrical short circuit, or from the office kitchen or even someone smoking in the corridor, etc.
According to the government, more than 25000 fire incidents take place in England and Wales every year. While some businesses get recovered, others suffer major losses and even shutdowns. Hence, fire safety must be promoted at the workplace.
Most of us are familiar with some basic fire safety tips but many of us are unaware of what to do when a fire erupts. Fire safety is much more than stop, drop, and roll and keeping the fabrics away from heaters, etc. Since fire safety education is important, hence an employer must educate the staff on fire safety, with training programs and fire drills.
Following are a few workplace safety tips that will help understand key areas for fire prevention and promote fire safety at the workplace.
How To Promote Fire Safety In Your Workplace?
Install Fire Detection Systems
For any commercial or residential building, it is necessary to install a fire detection system. This includes using fire alarms, smoke, and fire detectors. These devices trigger an alarm automatically as soon as they detect smoke or burning flames in a room. If there are manual alarms installed at the workplace, make sure to teach the employees how to operate them in case of a fire.
Formulate an Emergency Plan
An emergency plan includes making fire safety policies and procedures. This should include familiarization will all emergency exits and awareness regarding warnings and evacuation procedures.
Make Escape Routes
This is another important element of the emergency plan. There should be fireproof escape routes that lead the employees to safety. An escape route should be well lit having clear signs. Employers should plan fire escape routes in collaboration with local fire authorities and design them as per standards.
Hire a Fire Warden
Employers should hire people who should train and assist other employees on fire safety. They should also help in the evacuation during the fire. These people are called Fire Wardens. They are trained professionals in fire safety awareness and have hands-on experience in using fire-fighting equipment.
Understanding Fire Extinguishers
The staff should be familiar with every type of fire prevention equipment available at the workplace. This also includes familiarization with fire extinguishers and their types. Workplaces must have carbon dioxide or the appropriate type of fire extinguishers installed at every 200 square meters.
Install Emergency Lights
All escape doors and routes should be well lit. There should be well-lit warning signs at each door, corridor, floor level, and even at turns. The staircase should also have emergency lights installed with sufficient battery backup. It is also important to test these lights regularly.
Fire Safety Signs
The fire safety signs installed on the premises must be bold, clear, and visible to everyone. The letters should be clear, they should be directing the right way, and should contain pictures so that anyone can understand them easily. They should be well lit or fluorescent so that they work well even when there is no power and the room is dark.
Train Your Staff
The staff should be given necessary training on fire safety including how to raise an alarm, get familiar with fire wardens, familiarization with escape routes and evacuation plans. Everyone should know where the assembly point is and which escape route leads to what place.
Practice Fire Drills
Evacuation fire drills prepare employees for the worst. It enables them to know what to do and where to go in case of a fire. Fire drills must be carried out annually or twice a year at least. If any physical changes take place in the building or workplace premises. It is important to carry out a fire drill as soon as possible to get familiar with new escape routes and assembly points.
Maintain Good Housekeeping
Employees should also be trained on maintaining good housekeeping. Flammable and or combustible materials should not be kept for longer. Extra cardboard boxes and waste papers should also be disposed of regularly. Employees should not leave electrical switches open or overload them. All electrical equipment should be kept away from liquids. Such practices help maintain good housekeeping and prevent fire eruption.
While these are a few steps that promote good housekeeping it is also important to take the following things as precautions for workplace safety.
Many of us have been doing fire drills at schools and colleges, however, it doesn’t mean that we are aware of everything that is required to keep safe from a fire incident. Also, having vast experience with fire drills doesn’t make us expert in knowing what to do when a fire erupts. This is because every location is different and the type of fire may vary as well. Hence, assuming that everyone has prior knowledge will be wrong. So, every employer should arrange fire drills for their staff irrespective of what prior knowledge they have. It should be practiced regularly, either once or twice a year, depending upon physical changes at the workplace.
An employer also must keep their staff informed of any physical and geographical changes in the workplace so that everyone knows where is what. Moreover, the fire fighting system should be checked and maintained regularly to ensure maximum safety of employees. Employers should install smart and intelligent Business Access Control Systems that unlock whenever a fire incident takes place so that employees can evacuate safely and reach the assembly point.