Fire Safety in the Workplace
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Fire Safety in the Workplace

It is an all too common fact that fires often break out in the workplace and can result in serious injury or death to anyone present. Whether you work in an office, factory, or store, the risks remain the same. All major fires usually start small and can quickly turn into a huge inferno.

Now, what can you do to make your work environment a safer place for you and your employees when it comes to fire safety? Well, actually a lot. Below we’ll go over some basic safety tips to help ensure you protect your staff should the worst happen and you experience a fire.

Most offices and workplaces will have a variety of flammable items present in them. They can be things like paper, cleaning chemicals, or waste materials like shredded paper or old envelopes, to name just a few. Anything that is capable of burning should be considered a potential hazard. Any flammable items should be safely stored in an area that is well ventilated to minimize the risk of ignition. There should be a working fan, as this will help personnel to escape more safely in the event of a fire because smoke and gases are removed faster. Adequate emergency lighting and battery-powered lanterns should be installed for staff so they can find their way out if the building loses power. Never use an open flame, such as a lighter, as this could ignite more fires during the escape.

Do not leave trash or unwanted items, such as waste paper or boxes, to accumulate in the workplace, as this poses a serious fire hazard and can block escape routes. Make sure all staff know your fire escape routes, and install a fire alarm if you don’t already have one. If the office already has one, make sure it is tested regularly each year by a qualified fire alarm engineer and that none of the detectors are covered, blocked or painted over.

It is now law in the UK that all workplaces are non-smoking. Provide signs to highlight this and ensure that wherever staff go such as a designated smoking area, there is no hazardous waste such as old paper or cloth. This could catch fire if a cigarette is accidentally dropped.

One of the main causes of fires in offices is due to a short circuit in the socket or in electrical machinery, such as computers or heaters. Make sure any outlets not in use are turned off and have them tested annually to make sure they are in proper working order. Never plug multiple plugs into one outlet, as this increases the risk of overload and possible short circuit. Electrical fires can be very dangerous, so you also need to provide the correct type of fire extinguisher for such a hazard. A CO2 fire extinguisher is specially designed for this purpose.

Designate a staff member as the fire marshal or fire marshal and make sure they brief all staff on evacuation procedures and fire assembly points.

By following these simple guidelines, you will quickly make your workplace a much safer environment.

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