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Fires are not some of the most common types of workplace accidents. But when they happen, they can cause serious injuries, damage to equipment/building or even fatalities. Even if those at the worksite escape unhurt, the impact of a fire accident can be costly for businesses in terms of property destruction and litigation if the employer is at fault.
With that in mind, Safe T Professionals is committed to helping organizations avert the consequences of fires and explosion. We offer a wide range of fire safety services that include fire safety training and fire safety inspection. On top of that, we may visit your worksite (upon request) to audit practices and procedures in place. During this time, we make certain that all the necessary precautions are in place in case of fire hazards within the confines of the workplace.
As a reputable fire safety company, we believe that any organization can do a lot to protect against fire. The first defense is to understand the potential causes of the fire.
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Common fire related hazards
There are plenty of factors that increase the chances of a fire accident. Here are some of the leading causes of workplace fire accidents:
Electrical faults are perhaps some of the most common sources of fire accidents in the workplace. Misuse or neglect of wiring can lead to short circuits. Also, fires can result from old, malfunctioning equipment, overloaded sockets or plugs and defective wiring.
That said, it’s important to note that every company (yours included) has a legal obligation to ensure that all equipment, including electrical machinery, are working correctly. A PAT (Portable Appliance Test) must be carried out on all electrical equipment at the workplace to be certain that they are functional and safe to use. Having a PAT test conducted every so often plays a critical role in fire prevention.
2. Combustible Materials
It’s apparent that many companies use and store glues, flammable liquids and solvents. All these materials are combustible if not used, stored or disposed of properly. A good example is when flammable liquid spills at the workplace. Vapor begins to form immediately, and if ignited, it can cause a vast fire.
For that reason, any organization that uses these combustible materials should ensure correct storage, handling processes and disposal as a way to reduce risks associated with fire accidents. While doing this, make sure that you follow all the OSHA guidelines on dealing with flammables. Also, equip your employees with proper training and education on how to handle flammable and combustible materials regularly.
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3. Human Error
Human error is another frequent cause of fires. These types of accidents are typically not intentional. Too often, human error includes simple carelessness, improper use of equipment, machinery that overheats and spilling flammable liquids.
That’s why you need to make sure that your employees and prevention practitioners are knowledgeable about fire prevention techniques, such as the proper use of an extinguisher. On top of that, have fire prevention strategies in place, including quality equipment and readiness of personnel.
Lack of proper care or negligence is another element that can affect workplace fire safety. Usually, cases of negligence happen when an employee attempts to complete a task faster than they should. In other words, taking a short cut to get a job done quicker tends to have the correct procedures ignored, thus causing health, safety and fire risk in some cases. Excellent examples of negligence at the workplace include when a worker misuses equipment, overuses a machine or blocks ventilation areas. Any of these can lead to serious fire accidents.
The good news is that training employees appropriately can work to your advantage. Organizations must also assess and review their procedures and practices regularly. Doing these will go a long way in ensuring proper workmanship and reduce any risk of fire accidents in the future.
Without regular cleaning and maintenance, clutter can become a serious issue in workplace fire safety. Waste materials can quickly start a fire. What’s even worse, the clutter plays a significant role in spreading the fire faster from the accumulated waste to other combustible materials at the workplace. Therefore, try to prevent the buildup of any waste, including papers, grease, dirt or even dust.
Any of these can cause equipment and machinery to malfunction, leading to a fire. If possible, clean your work site often and ensure the work areas remain in their optimal state. Also, encourage workers to maintain clean and tidy work environments. All these will help mitigate the risk of fire accidents.
6. Arson or Willful Fire-raising
A deliberate act of starting fires or arson is more common than we all want to believe. Commercial and industrial businesses, for instance, are common targets for vandals. The good news is that there are easy ways of preventing this. One effective way is to secure your worksite against unauthorized personnel. Securing the site includes anything from blocking any unauthorized access to installing motion sensors and CCTV cameras.
Having a reliable security system in place will make any daring individual reconsider. Another effective way to prevent willful fire-raising is by installing an interior anti-fire sprinkler system. It does not only mitigate the risks of fire break out but helps prevent the fast spread of fire to other areas of your worksite or building.
No matter what causes a fire, every person must help in fire prevention. In other words, every employee must help in keeping the work environment safe from fire hazards. Also, extreme care should be taken when handling chemicals such as fuels, gases, gasoline and flammable solvents.
Fire Safety precautions
No matter what causes the accident, fires are easy to avoid and contain. All it takes is the right amount of caution and knowledge. That’s why we offer comprehensive fire safety training right here at Safe T Professionals. We go the extra mile to equip you and your team with knowledge on how to take fire prevention more seriously.
Some of the good fire safety practices that we can recommend include:
1. Emergency fire safety planning
Of course, it goes without saying that prevention is better than cure. That’s the best defense when preventing fire in the first place. Every organization should prepare well enough for an emergency like a fire. The emergency plan should clearly outline what key employees need to do in the event of a fire.
Besides that, it’s critical to have a well-written evacuation procedure. It should include everything, such as the location of extinguishers, fire alarm call points, exits, as well as details of nominated employees and what they need to do.
More importantly, make sure that your employees understand the emergency plan clearly. Don’t feel apprehensive about testing the arrangements in the plan every now and then. If possible, conduct a fire drill at least annually. This will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your plan. Don’t hesitate to correct any issues you discover during the drill.
2. Fire Alarms & Detectors
Besides an effective emergency plan, you must have an easy way to detect a fire and raise the alarm. The fire detection and alarm system you choose should be loud enough for anyone within the building to hear. It should send a clear warning message for people to evacuate the premises safely.
Also, you must provide clear notices and instructions to help people to operate (and respond to) the fire detection and alarm system with ease. The fire alarm and detection systems you choose to install should be tested at least weekly.
3. escape routes
Having escape routes is another important fire safety measure. You need to ensure that you have sufficient exits, all located in strategic points. The routes should be super easy to identify, with easy-to-understand instructions. Make sure that you train everyone about the means of escape in the event of a fire.
Having different types and sizes of escape routes with enough lighting will make it easy to evacuate a large number of people in the event of an emergency such as a fire. Make sure you check them daily to remove any obstacle.
4. evacuation of disabled people
As you come up with your evacuation plan, you need to consider everybody within the premises. You must take particular care of more vulnerable individuals or groups, such as children, elderly and disabled people.
Having a PEEP (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans) can come in handy when identifying the needs of vulnerable people. The PEEPs should be customized to individuals and explain in clear terms the necessary evacuation procedure. If the visitors are unknown, standard PEEPs will suffice. Above all, your staff should have proper training on how to implement PEEPs effectively when an emergency strikes.
5. Fire extinguishers
Fire extinguishers form an effective element of fire safety. They help control fire or extinguish a fire, especially in emergency situations. However, you need to keep in mind that there are different types of fire extinguishers and the location of each type matters.
Choosing the right type (and sufficient capacity) will determine its effectiveness in putting out the type that occurs. The ideal location for fire extinguishers is close to potential fire hazards. Make sure to train employees you expect to use the fire extinguishers. If you’re not sure what type of fire extinguisher is best for you or where to locate one, our fire safety inspectors can help with that.
Our Fire Safety Training Services
Here at Safe T Professionals, we believe that fire accidents are inevitable. Even the correctly serviced equipment can burn out unexpectedly and cause a fire in the building/worksite. That’s why every employer has a legal obligation to ensure that all employees have appropriate safety training.
Besides that, the employer is required to keep the training record for all employees. This makes it easy to establish who has undertaken training successfully, who has not and who needs refresher training.
While all fires have a cause (accidental or not), we believe that training all staff properly can help you prevent fire break out or even deal with easily when it occurs. Here at Safe T Professionals, we offer comprehensive fire safety training. Our program includes educating staff on the nature of highly flammable materials at the workplace and how to handle them. This, in turn, helps prevent innocent mistakes that might turn out to be catastrophic in the future.
Some of the topics we cover in our fire safety training program include:
As an employer, one thing you need to keep in mind is that fire safety training should not be a one-off thing. You need to carry out training regularly and ensure that it’s appropriate and suitable for the employees at your workplace.
Here at Safe T Professionals, we tailor the training based on your industry and the size of your company. Regardless of your industry, you can count on us to help in fire prevention, safety procedure recommendations, fire safety consultancy and fire accident investigation. The commitment of our fire safety consultants to service excellence is one thing that sets us apart from other health and safety companies.
Reach out to us
At Safe T Professionals, your company’s safety (and that of your workers) is our top concern. We offer a comprehensive fire safety training program relevant to your workplace, including a manual handling training course and a 3-Day First Aid at Work Course.
Contact us to book training for your staff or a whole group of delegates. Browse through our website or talk to one of our fire safety specialist and learn more about our fire and safety services.