There aren’t many forces that can destroy everything in its path, but fire is one of them. Fire doesn’t discriminate and can ruin people’s lives and cause millions in damage. However, most fires are perfectly preventable – in fact, by just placing a few policies and procedures in place, most of the fires that cause damage should never occur. It’s all about understanding how fires start, how they spread, and how they can be extinguished. It’s about being conscious of the risk. So where should we start? Here’s how to make sure your workplace is fire-safe:
In order to create a fire – intentionally or by accident – you need three things: a source of heat, fuel, and oxygen. If one of them is missing, a fire is not possible. It’s this fire triangle that makes us understand how fires work. Though this is elementary knowledge, heat, fuel, and oxygen can take many forms. Here are some more details:
- Heat. An open flame is the most obvious source of heat, but heat can also be provided by many other things. Lightning or electrical sparks are also sources of heat, as are two dangerous chemicals mixed together, or a bottle left in the sun.
- Fuel. Common sources of fuel include wood, paper, carton, plastic, rubber, as well as chemical or combustible liquids and gasses.
- Oxygen. It’s all around us – but it can also be stored in tanks and bottles.
What employers should do
The first thing employers should do is carry out a risk assessment. This is done with the help of professionals – often, professionals from the fire bureau can be called upon for assistance, but manufacturers of products should be called upon as well.
The first step is to identify what materials are hazardous and to ensure they are stored properly. The second step is to identify what could cause fire – meaning, where the source of heat or ignition could come from. The third step is to identify how those risks can be avoided and come up with a process (policies and procedures) to prevent any dangerous situations.
Aside from educating the staff and employees on how to safely operate machinery or use substances to prevent fires, there are, of course, things you can do to make sure the workplace is as safe as possible – some are even mandated by law. Installing smoke detectors can help detect a fire before it starts; having fire extinguishers nearby ensure fast action, and sprinkler systems can help contain danger. Have your employees undergo first aid training from specialists such as www.firstresponsetraining.com so they will know exactly what to do in case there is any emergency – and make sure that the correct preventive and first aid procedures have been put in place by professionals.
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