Fire Safety

One of the most serious workplace dangers- fire- can be prevented or its impact minimized with thorough planning and training

It takes only one tragedy to remind us of the critical importance of maintaining a comprehensive fire-prevention program. A good, efficiently managed program that employees understand can make the difference in preventing catastrophe.

Legal Issues

OSHA Regulations: Nine subparts of 29 CFR 1910 contain specific fire-prevention standards. 1910.155 through 1910.165, Subart L is dedicated to Fire Protection, 1910.38,.39 Fire Emergency Action Plan. The other eight are Subparts E,H,M,N,Q,R,S, and Z.

Among the more common fire safety violations are those dealing with:

  • Electrical Grounding
  • Ignition sources
  • Design and construction of storage containers
  • Transfer of flammable liquid
  • Ventilation of storage areas
  • Cleaning of spray areas
  • Smoking Rules

No fire

Management Issues

Specific OSHA requirements vary according to the structure and activity of your workplace, but basically, there are two key managemaent tasks involved in fire prevention and protection.

  1. A system to protect workers from fire. This system must include:
    1. Proper maintenance and testing of smoke detectors, alarms, sprinklers, hoses, and portable & fixed fire extinguishers
    2. Adequate emergency access to, and egress from, the workplace
    3. Training for personnel who maintain fire-safety equipment
    4. Training for all employees in fire-emergency procedures
    5. A written Fire-prevention plan if you have more than 11 employees
  2. First Response Arrangements. If you decide to use a fire-fighting brigade of your own, OSHA provides detailed regulations. Whether you choose that approach or rely solely on local emergency authorities, you need to establish a close relationship with the local force. Invite them to become familiar with your facility and maintain good communication.

Training Issues

Fire Drill

All employees should have training in the following:

  • Alarms- locations, sound
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Exits, routes, meeting places
  • Use and location of fire extinguishers
  • When/how/if to attempt to extinguish a fire
  • Fire prevention, especially housekeeping and electrical safety

A practice evacuation is the best way to assess how effective your training has been.

Source: Business & Legal Resources