There’s a lot that businesses and institutions can do to protect themselves against fires. The most effective step they can take is to prevent fires from starting in the first place by taking the right precautionary measures.
That being said – any sort of fire prevention plan begins with an understanding of where these fires come from and what causes them. Workplace fires cost businesses millions every year and making sure that you cut off risks before they become potential threat is an essential ingredient to any fire safety plan.
Here are some of the most common causes of workplaces fires and what you can do to prevent the worst from happening. Let’s jump right in!
Without a doubt – the most common cause of fires in the workplace is related to electricity. Whether it’s a malfunction, faulty wiring, a bad connection or all of the above. In fact, electricity accounts for nearly 25% of all fire-related workplace incidents.
All employees should be made thoroughly familiar with safety procedures for their particular job – whether it’s understanding how to use the tools and equipment they have at their disposal – or simple usage policies when it comes to things like extension cords. And last but certainly not least – make sure that any damage is reported to maintenance. Damage such as frayed and cracked wires are prime culprits when it comes to electrical fires.
There are thousands of chemicals in use in the American workplace – many of which are flammable, combustible or both. Improper handling can bring about a significant risk for a fire. Every employee should be trained thoroughly when it comes to not only how to handle chemicals, but what to do in situations where there’s a spill, leak or accident. Chemicals can be dangerous, not only from their physical composition, but also the vapors that they give off, so it’s vital that employees know precisely what to do in the event of a mishap.
Also be sure to follow OSHA guidelines specifically as well to make sure that you’re covered. It’s important not just for the safety of your business, but the safety of your employees as well.
Human error and general negligence
As the old saying goes – ‘to err is human’. These fires happen when employees don’t follow established procedures and carelessly take part in activities that could cause a potential fire hazard. While it’s not written down in any policy book or OSHA guidelines, we like to make sure that our employees get a good, old fashioned ‘common sense/self awareness’ training that goes along with any effort to put together a fire safety plan.
That’s to say – that fire safety begins with constantly being aware of our surroundings and what the consequences could be of your actions if you’re not careful and acting with ‘your head on a swivel’ – particularly if you’re working in a place where there’s a constant threat of fire. Most fires are prevented not by showing people how to use fire extinguishers or enlightening them to the latest and greatest fire safety technology. It comes from consistently being aware of dangers around you and always erring on the side of caution.
This also goes for you, too Business Owner Friend! It’s the little things that can catch up to us – so be sure to have things like fire safety signs up in common areas, make sure that smoking restrictions are followed quickly and above all else – just having a team huddle once or twice a year for an hour to go over what everyone needs to be doing and needs to think about. Even a little training can go miles in terms of preventing fires.
At the end of the day, fire prevention is everyone’s job. If you would like help putting a comprehensive fire safety plan for your company, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help. Until then – good luck and stay aware!