Survey all potential causes of fire at your workplace
Fire prevention is about more than just protecting the lives of your employees; the very survival of your business could be riding on appropriate fire prevention efforts.
About 45 percent of all companies that experience a minor fire do not reopen afterwards, according to the International Council of Toy Industries. Businesses are devastated by the loss of records and machinery as a result of fire, and insurance coverage only goes so far. (Learn from the tragedy, and subsequent revival, of one recent small business fire.)
Such dire business losses can be avoided, or mitigated, by instating controls to prevent and/or control workplace fires. Management best practices should also include emergency preparedness plans in the case of a fire.
Of course, the best laid plans often go amiss, and fire prevention plans are no different - without safety training, emergency preparedness remain little more than a blueprint.
Training yourself and your staff at your workplace is the easiest and best way to start your fire prevention efforts.
At the most basic level, all your employees should know the locations of fire extinguishers and flame / fire retardants at your workplace and how to properly use these safety equipment and materials.
Conduct a survey of your facility and identify all potential causes of fire - in the form of electrical, chemical, fuel, vapors and dust.
Your local fire department would love to help you with optimizing fire prevention and safety at your workplace.
Flame and fire retardants are available in many formats: insulation, varnishes, additives, paints, sprays, wraps and caulking. Some rubber and plastic products have the retardant built right into them by manufacturers.
There are many simple and inexpensive ways to combat possible fires at your facility:
- Establish good housekeeping practices, such as the 5S program, to reduce dust and vapors that are potential sources of ignition.
- Keep the appropriate number of fire extinguishers close at hand across your workplace.
- Learn which chemicals react adversely with others and could be a threat.
- Instate proper storage facilities for rags, paints, chemicals and fuels.
- Properly dispose of flammable products.
- Set up a workstation for the dispensation of chemicals, oils and paints from large containers to smaller ones, for immediate use. This process is often a cause of spillage and a separate work area will restrict its potential to cause a fire.
OSHA has extensive fire protection and prevention standards that are well worth your attention. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) also offer guidelines for fire prevention.