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.
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
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.
- A system to protect workers from fire. This system must include:
- Proper maintenance and testing of smoke detectors, alarms, sprinklers, hoses, and portable & fixed fire extinguishers
- Adequate emergency access to, and egress from, the workplace
- Training for personnel who maintain fire-safety equipment
- Training for all employees in fire-emergency procedures
- A written Fire-prevention plan if you have more than 11 employees
- 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.
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