Fire in the workplace can be very disastrous because of the losses it can cause. The losses here can be regarded to the terms of property damage and loss of lives. However, most people do not worry about material loss because they are easy to replace; life is the most precious thing.
In most situations, fire arises from avoidable situations. Additionally, there are those that are caused by unavoidable circumstances such as lightening. This paper will focus on safety measures that organizations can adopt to prevent the occurrence of fire related incidences.
Recent fire incidences have revealed that most organizations do not have a fire prevention and detection program. While the role of fighting fire is designated to firefighters, organizations should do whatever it takes in their capacity to ensure fire is avoided. This is because firefighters always come in when the situation is out of control.
Fire detection and prevention programs provide guidelines to all the employees so that they would be empowered to detect fire early enough to take the necessary precautions (Diamantes, 2010). Besides, it helps the workforce understand how they should carry themselves in the event of fire. For instance, the organization educates the employees on how to use fire extinguishers and the emergency exits.
Employers should include regular orientation periods to ensure that the employees are familiar with the structures that are within the organization’s close proximity. This should include fire drills to evaluate an organization’s level of preparedness in handling disasters. It is essential to use the drills to identify areas that need improvement.
For instance, if the emergency exit is not clear, the management should clear all the possible barriers. Additionally, the management should ensure the firefighting equipments are in good working condition. Moreover, there should be appropriate signage to direct people to the emergency exit, and give warnings concerning areas that are prone to fire probably due to presence of combustible substances (Jones, 2010).
Similarly, workers should handle combustible materials, such as propane, with a lot of care because they can burst into flames from a slight inducement. This implies that they should keep such materials from possible sources of ignition such as electricity and smoke. In addition, such materials should include warning labels so that whoever is handling them, he/she is aware of the potential hazard (Jones, 2010).
When disposing combustible materials, it is advisable to avoid mixing with ordinary waste matter, but they should be disposed in separate bins. Moreover, organizations should establish designated smoking areas to ensure cigarette ends do not cause fire. If the smoke is exposed to smoke detectors, it could trigger the fire alarm to turn on.
Firefighting equipment should be clear from any form of obstruction to make sure they are accessible when the need arises. Some workplaces lack proper arrangement of equipments, and in the event of fire, these items have to be stumbled upon to get the fire fighting equipment. What makes it worse is that some of these items are quite flammable.
Electrical faults are also the major cause of fire. Some are bound to happen while others are caused by negligence. For instance, it is insane to leave any electrical appliance unattended. Additionally, workers should avoid overloading electric sockets beyond their supply ratings.
If one has to use an electric appliance, he/she has to stay within until he/she finishes what he/she was doing with the gadget. Cracked electric cables can be disastrous, and hence, electricians should repair them immediately because leaving them un-insulated could result in a fire if exposed to flammable substances.
A qualified technician should repair faulty appliances immediately. Workers should not use faulty appliances because they can easily trigger a fire. Furthermore, there should be a central electric power control unit to switch off power in the event of fire (Diamantes, 2010).
Additionally, a building that has heavy machinery requires proper ventilation. This is because poor ventilation can cause a lot of heat to accumulate in the chambers and later result in explosions that could cause fire. If gasoline powers such machinery, it should be refueled in an open air space because refilling it in a confined location increases the chances of igniting a fire. Moreover, the machinery should be given some time to cool before refueling because the high temperatures within its compartment can ignite a fire.
Incase flammable substances spill on the floor, they should be wiped out completely. Such substances can be ignited easily even by increase of temperature in room. All equipment should be switched off at the end of the day. This task should be assigned to someone who has expertise in handling electrical and mechanical equipment.
In case a fire is detected early, all the employees should be evacuated from the house immediately and gather at the designated fire assembly point. This is done to help in identifying individuals who need to be rescued. The assembly point should be at an open space at least fifty meters from the premises.
During the evacuation procedure, no one should be allowed to use the elevator because it is likely to be stuck, possibly because of power failure. The alarm system should be turned on in order to sensitize all workers that they need to exit from the premises, and no one should be allowed to re-enter after exiting. Fire has consumed many people in the past simply because they went back into the building after a successful exit.
A fire should be arrested before it builds up into huge flames. This can be done using appropriate fire extinguisher. Appropriate here means that fire is categorized into various categories, and each group has its own unique type of extinguisher. For instance, a fire caused by electric faults is different from a fire caused by flammable substances. Therefore, unless the appropriate extinguisher is employed, the fire will persist.
Furthermore, the individuals who are using these extinguishers should put on protective clothing to shield them from any injuries. In brief, all these instructions should be included in the company’s fire emergency plan. Wainwright (n.d.) argues that such plans are supposed to be put in writing and displayed in an area that is regularly visited by employees to ensure they know what they are supposed to do in case of a fire.
In conclusion, fire in workplaces should be avoided at all times because besides the damage of property and loss of lives, there are people whose career might be ruined by such incidences. Similarly, fire causes organizations to fall back as they struggle to recover the losses incurred. In case a business premise catches fire, the employees should open all windows and doors before they vacate the building. Any equipment that is on should be switched off because if it explodes, it will only escalate the fire.
Diamantes, D. (2010). Principles of fire prevention. New York, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.
Jones, C. (2010, October 5). 12 fire prevention tips for workers. Retrieved from http://www.safetyxchange.org/health-safety/12-fire-prevention-tips-for-workers
Wainwright, N. (n.d.). How to implement workplace health safety & security procedures. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/how_6791397_implement-health-safety-security-procedures.html