According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over 5,000 people are injured as a result of workplace fires every year. These fires could be a result of multiple factors, but the fact remains that they are injuring too many individuals to ignore.
In a recent survey of over 100 businesses, only 35% reported having any form of fire evacuation plan in place. If your business doesn’t have a fire protection and prevention plan in place, here’s a short checklist to get you started.
Assess Risks and Fire Hazards
The first item on any fire prevention checklist should be ensuring that you, as well as your staff, are aware of potential hazards in the workplace. Important places to note are areas with large numbers of computers and cables, any spaces with electrical appliances in them such as kitchens or bathrooms, and designated smoking areas.
Educate Your People
Make sure your employees know what to do in the event of a fire. Creating an escape plan and posting it in various visible locations around the office can help create a more informed workplace. In addition, a visit from a fire marshal is a great step for your fire prevention plan. If a marshal visit isn’t available, ask for guidance from your building’s property manager.
Invest in Fire Protection
Fire protection involves more than just education; fire protection systems are a key factor in the equation. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that only two deaths have ever occurred in a building with a properly functioning sprinkler system. Fire sprinkler systems are essential to the workplace, and this is one area where expenses should never be cut.
Proper Fire Protection System Maintenance
Approximately 44% of wet or dry chemical suppression system failures were due to a lack of maintenance on the building’s part. While fire sprinkler and suppression systems are useful just by being installed, that doesn’t mean it’s a one and done type of situation. Like all safety equipment, they require regular inspection and maintenance to ensure that, in the event of a fire, they can function properly.
Fire safety is just as important in a business as it is in a home. If you follow this checklist and continue to promote fire safety education in your workplace, you and your staff will be prepared to handle any fire situation that may occur.