There has been an increase in the number of workplace fires in recent years. Workplace fire outbreaks, thankfully, rarely cause a loss of life, but they do often lead to the destruction of not just the building and its facilities, but also the loss of the business itself in many cases. In 2017, there were nearly 500,000 business fires in the US. So if you’re thinking that it could never happen to you, then think again.
Most accidental fires are preventable. By adhering to certain fire preventive measures, you can largely reduce the possibilities of fire breaking out in your workplace. Here are six vital fire safety tips that should always be practiced in the workplace.
Faulty wiring is one of the major causes of outbreaks of fire. Therefore electrical cords with broken connectors or cracked insulation need to be immediately replaced.
Ensure all electrical appliances are in great working condition before and after use. If extension cords are to be used, ensure that only one is used per outlet.
Octopus wiring, where clusters of wires and plugs are all connected to a single outlet present a real hazard, and should be avoided if you want to prevent electrical fires.
Watch Where You Smoke
Smoking should only ever be allowed in specially designated, and safe areas of your premises. Zero tolerance must be practiced over smoking in any other areas of your buildings or grounds in order to reduce the risk of fires breaking out.
Appoint a Fire Safety Officer
All businesses need a fire prevention officer to take the lead in this area, regardless of the business’s size. A fire prevention officer is responsible for organizing escape routes and meeting places for employees and for ensuring that all fire prevention legislation and best practice is strictly followed. The fire safety officer is also in charge of keeping your fire prevention policies up to date, and making sure that all employees know what to do in the event of a fire.
Get a Good Alarm System
All businesses should have fire alarm monitoring set up so that even when there’s no-one at your place of work to raise the alarm, fires can be detected early and brought under control as quickly as possible. For information on essential wireless alarm monitoring, click here.
Fire alarms and sprinkler systems are also vital for ensuring that fires can be extinguised speedily, and that lives and livelihoods are protected. Make sure to test your smoke alarms once a month and replace the batteries often.
Fire extinguishers are a necessity for all businesses. They are your first line of defence and can often contain or extinguish fires quickly, preventing the spread of fire and costly damage. Fire extinguishers should be kept in visible and accessible places, and must be inspected and replaced regularly in line with guidance.
Give Appliances Room
Appliances should be well-spaced to reduce the risks of fire breaking out and spreading. Leave a gap behind coffee machines and computers to allow air to circulate, and to prevent them from overheating. And always ensure that appliances are kept away from combustible materials.
Remember that all electrical appliances should be unplugged at the end of the workday. And all sockets switched off, too.
By adhering to these tips, you can keep the people who work in your business safe, and prevent expensive, and potentially catastrophic fires from taking hold in your workplace. Click here to read more about vital preventive measures every business should know and follow.