A Guide To Fire Safety in the Workplace

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Millions of fires occur across the world every year, many of which are in places of employment, such as offices, restaurants, or other business establishments. A fire in your office building can cause your insurance premiums to spike, lead to lawsuits from employees or clients, and give you an unfavorable reputation in your community. For this reason, it is important to create a fire safety plan, educate your employees, and implement the plan if necessary. 

Why Is Fire Safety So Important?

Fire safety is important for many reasons. For one thing, it is the law. National, state, and local fire codes all have fire safety plan guidelines based on the types of buildings and what they are used for. Typically, the owner of the building is who is responsible for creating the plan. However, even if you lease your business space, providing your own fire safety education is essential.

In addition to the legal aspect, consider the price you’ll pay if there is a fire and you or your employees don’t know how to put it out or how to get out of the building safely. At best, you’ll damage your building or your inventory, potentially setting your business back in the process. If the fire is too severe, you could even risk the injury or death of your employees or clients. A strong fire safety plan is essential for your protection. 

What Can You Prevent Workplace Fire Hazards?

Understanding whether your office building is hazardous and how you can achieve fire prevention is important for the safety of all involved. One of the biggest causes of fires in office buildings is faulty electrical wiring or overloaded circuits. If you notice flickering lights or damaged electrical cords, call an electrician to inspect your wiring. Additionally, avoid overloading circuits by using power strips to plug in more than should be in any outlet. Finally, when you close at the end of the day, unplug electrical appliances to ensure they don’t overheat and become an overnight fire hazard.

Another common fire hazard is clutter. Old papers, boxes you received from deliveries, or improperly stored cleaning supplies not only lead to clutter but could be a serious fire hazard. This is especially true if they block vents, lay against power outlets, or make it difficult for your sprinkler system or smoke detectors to function. They may also make it harder for people to use fire extinguishers or exit via emergency doors if there is a fire. 

What Should a Fire Safety Plan Include?

Your fire safety plan should detail emergency procedures in case of a fire. This includes how to sound the fire alarm, who notifies the fire department, and how people should enter and exit the building. Not all businesses are required to keep on-site fire extinguishers. If you do have them, you are responsible for showing employees how to use them. The plan should also detail how to prevent and control potential fire hazards, instructions regarding the limitation of building occupants, and floor plans of the building. You are responsible for teaching your supervisors how to implement the plan, and they should teach the employees in their departments.  

What if There Is a Fire in the Workplace?

The most important thing to do is to keep calm if there is a fire in the workplace. If it is a small fire, such as one in a garbage can, use any fire extinguishers you have nearby. If you discover a larger fire that won’t be handled by a fire extinguisher, or if you don’t have them on the premises, you must sound the alarm, call the fire department, and evacuate the premises according to your fire plan. Even if you put the fire out on your own, you should have the department come to assess the situation and ensure there are no further hazards. 

Protect your employees, your clients, yourself, and of course, your investment. If you haven’t already started a fire safety plan, now is the time to do so. If you aren’t sure where to begin, consider calling in an expert to help you examine your building, find potential hazards, and create a plan that you and your staff will be able to implement.