When it comes to both preventing and containing fires, there are several things that manufacturing facilities and warehouses can do to ensure that they have the right safety precautions in place if a fire occurs.
1. Have an Evacuation Plan for your Employees
If a fire does occur in a facility, the number one priority is making sure that the employees are able to exit the building quickly and safely. A fire can cause severe stress and fear in individuals, which in turn can result in panicked reactions and avoidable accidents. Warehouses and manufacturers can counteract this result by establishing an appropriate evacuation plan that directs all employees to the nearest exists in a calm and controlled manner. Furthermore, requiring employees to regularly review the evacuation plan or practice evacuating in a fire drill can aid employees in feeling prepared if a fire occurs and provide them the tools to respond appropriately in an emergency.
Commercial fire protection equipment often acts as the first line of defense against a fire in a warehouse or a manufacturing plant. Everything from a simple, hand-held fire extinguisher to a complex fire sprinkler or suppression system can help contain a fire or extinguish a flame before it spreads out of control. Fire protection equipment is vital because it works to counter fire in the critical time between when the fire starts and when emergency response teams arrive. They can also help stave off a fire long enough to ensure that employees can safely exit the building. It is important to know which types of fire protection equipment can best protect your people and property.
3. Mandatory Fire Safety Training
Setting aside a few minutes a couple of times a year to educate employees about fire safety is also essential when it comes to fire safety in a warehouse or manufacturing facility. Safety Training should touch on topics including the location of fire extinguishers and other equipment, identification of all exits, instructions on how to use fire protection devices, discussion of evacuation routes and general knowledge about how fires can start or spread. Training will equip employees with the knowledge necessary to respond to a fire and remain calm in an emergency.
4. Keep Facilities and Workspaces Clean
When a workspace is cluttered with work materials, papers or even garbage, there is an increased risk that those materials can become fodder for an open flame. This is especially the case when those objects are highly combustible or can easily catch on fire. All workstations should be kept tidy, but it especially important to clean areas around welding stations or other workspaces that generate sparks or flames. Providing plenty of waste baskets or recycling cans can help employees stay on top of garbage disposal in the facility. And remember to keep the appropriate type of fire extinguisher handy should a spark ignite the items around you.
5. Require Employees to Wear Protective Clothing
Another fire safety tip that is often overlooked is requiring employees to wear protective clothing whenever they work with machinery that creates sparks or excessive heat. Sometimes employees fail to wear protective equipment because they believe the job will be quick or because they have completed thousands of similar jobs without accidents. However, these are not good enough excuses to forego protective clothing when one rogue spark could easily ignite an individual’s clothing or burn uncovered skin. It’s better to be safe than sorry and enforce strict rules requiring employees to wear protective clothing for all activities involving heat or sparks. Wearing PPE can mean all the difference!
This might seem like common sense, but OSHA codes are designed to protect facilities from fire hazards. As a result, following the regulations set by OSHA will inherently improve a facility’s overall fire safety. Furthermore, facilities should also adhere to any state or local fire safety laws for similar reasons. Not only is complying with regulations an excellent way to promote fire safety in a warehouse or manufacturing facility, but it also ensures that you won’t receive a fine from an OSHA representative for non-compliance with the law.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy,
Safety Banners USA