Fire Safety in Industry
When you run a company you have a lot of things to consider and one of those things is fire safety. Understanding fire safety and ensuring your employees understand it to be important if you’re going to ensure that you are all as safe as possible in the actual event of a fire. There are a number of things you need to think about with fire safety and these break down into a fairly simple to follow through list; training, alarms, equipment, insurance.
The very first thing you should be thinking about is your employees, the loss of human life would have a great impact on your business, your customers and your employees should you allow that to happen out of any negligence of your own. To this end your staff should know how to deal with the situation if there is ever a fire. First of all when inducting your staff either during their trial employment or on an induction day (however it is you induct your staff members) you should be sure to point out all of the fire exits, the location of the fire extinguishers and explain the procedure to the fire alarm.
This includes the safety point where staff meet and how employees are checked to ensure that everyone left the building safely. You should already have all of these procedures in place and only need to tell your employees how to do it.
Test the fire systems periodically, you should not only be making sure that your fire alarms work but also that your fire escape procedures work and ensure that your employees know and are capable of following these procedures properly. If you are not satisfied with the results or fear that your employees do not properly understand the procedures you can have demonstrations or meetings, send out memos or even display the fire procedures on a board in the office. So long as you ensure that the employees all know the procedures your methods aren’t of any major importance.
The alarms need to follow all of the fire safety regulations, they must be loud enough to be heard from anywhere in the building, they must be triggered by manual alarms, rapid heat changes, smoke or all of the aforementioned. You must test these regularly and if they are battery powered rather than being connected to the mains you should ensure that they have their batteries changed periodically.
It is your duty to provide the appropriate fire safety equipment, this means you must have fire blankets at various points in the building and you must have fire extinguishers at various points of the building. There are of course different types of fire extinguisher available, water based is the most commonly used but should never be used in contact with electrical appliances which means that if an office space features a lot of electronics you may decide to use CO2 or dry powder extinguishers in order to put the fire out safely.
Employees must not be encouraged to attempt to fight a fire alone, the severity of a fire ranges from a small flame which can be extinguished fairly easily with a fire extinguisher to a fierce blaze that will endanger the lives of any who attempt to extinguish it. For this reason appropriate fire training must be performed on at least a percentage of the employees within your business to ensure that at any one time at least one person in each area of the business is aware of what fires to attempt to extinguish and which to leave. Most fires that occur in a business or industry environment will be small and easy to deal with but it is the responsibility of the employer to always be prepared and to protect employees.
Tom currently writes for Parkland Engineering Aberdeen, a company that specialises in fire hoses and equipment.
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