On an average day, about 200 fires break out in U.S. workplaces. Annually, fires at work kill 200 people and injure more than 5,000 others. Fires cost American businesses in excess of $2 billion a year.
Among common unsafe practices that result in fire emergencies are:
- Electrical issues: Frayed wires, plugs or cords; circuit overloads, or insufficient open space between electrical equipment and combustible materials.
- Cooking-related accidents: Appliances left unattended, flammable materials left near heat sources, or grease spatter from deep frying are just a few examples.
- Poor housekeeping: Clutter, oil-soaked rags or accumulated dust.
Your OSHA-compliant fire prevention plan must be communicated to all employees both orally and in writing. (If you have 10 or fewer workers, oral communication is sufficient.) It must be readily available for employees to review.
Employer fire prevention plans must include:
- A listing of all major fire hazards.
- Proper handling and storage procedures for hazardous materials.
- A listing of potential ignition sources, their control, and equipment needed to control each hazard.
- Procedures to control accumulations of flammable and combustible waste materials.
- Procedures for the regular maintenance of safeguards on heat-producing equipment.
- The name or title of employees responsible for the control of fuel source hazards.
Your plan should clearly detail all fuel and heat sources that could initiate or contribute to the spread of fire, as well as building systems and tools such as fixed fire extinguishers and alarm systems. It’s advisable to clearly locate and mark all fire prevention equipment.
As an employer, you also must be prepared to evacuate your facility if necessary in the event of a fire or other emergency. This includes a plan with provisions for workers designated to stay behind; clearly communicated and published escape routes, and rescue and first-aid duties.
Training and drills on fire prevention and evacuation plans must be regular and ongoing.
The HR and workforce development experts at Premium Staffing can provide additional guidance to ensure your OSHA compliance – and best practices to keep your workers safe from harm or injury. To learn more, read our related posts or contact us today.