Fire Safety in the Workplace
There are several elements to creating a safe workplace and fire safety measures are an important part of that safe work environment. While a company never wants to plan on a fire breaking out in the office or warehouse, there is always the possibility that anything can happen. The company that prepares for these kinds of contingencies is the company that is taking steps towards developing a better working relationship with its employees.
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The Employee Handbook
The fire safety procedures should be a mandatory part of the company's employee handbook. The new employee orientation can set the proper tone by emphasizing the importance of the fire safety procedures and by mandating that every new employee read and understand the procedures.
Each quarter, the company should gather all of the employees together to update the fire safety policies and field any questions from employees. The company should also encourage employees to suggest changes to the fire safety procedures that would make the workplace even safer.
A Defined Escape Plan
A company needs to have a well-defined emergency escape plan that can be used in any situation, including if there is a fire. The escape plan should be outlined in the fire safety procedures and it should also be practiced at least once every quarter. Each department should have one person responsible for answering questions about the escape plan and for getting plan updates to employees.
The escape plan should include a place where employees can meet after escaping the building to be accounted for. Each department should also have a list of emergency procedures to follow in case of fire that are departmental specific. This will help to reduce confusion in the event of a fire.
There are two good reasons why building maintenance is so important to the company fire safety plan. First of all, good maintenance procedures will catch things like frayed wires and hazardous chemical leaks before they can become fire hazards. Part of the company maintenance plan should be a full fire inspection each month to identify and eliminate any potential hazards.
The other reason that building maintenance is so important to fire safety is because it can make certain that the escape routes are always easy to follow. Part of a good maintenance plan is to make sure that all of the emergency lighting is working and that the fire doors are operating properly as well. If these are neglected, then they may not function when they are needed the most.
A Reporting System
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to fire safety in the workplace is that employees do not have a system in place where they can report potential issues. A company needs to have a person or department in charge of fielding all fire safety concerns and then making sure that the concerns are investigated.
Reporting a fire safety issue to an immediate supervisor is not effective if the supervisor has no idea what to do with the issue. By creating a system that employees can use to report their concerns, it speeds up the response time and helps to stop the issue before it can become a major problem.
An ongoing concern for companies is where to store their excess materials so that they are out of the way, but still accessible if they are needed in the future. Sometimes this need for impromptu storage solutions leads to a long list of potential fire hazards.
The way to keep your workplace safe is to make sure that there are designated storage areas for various materials and supplies. For example, the flammable liquids should never be stored in the same area as archived files. A company should work with its employees to designate areas within the office where materials can be safely stored.
In an industrial setting, most materials come with instructions on how they should be stored. The company that is concerned with fire safety should follow these instructions closely and make sure that the chances of an accidental fire are significantly reduced.
Fire safety in the workplace is an issue that affects management and its employees. When a staff works together to help reduce the chances of a fire, then they are creating a safer workplace and also working on the bonds that create a strong working team as well.