The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) recorded 18,700 workplace fires in 2019. Property damage from these office and retail fires amounted to $744 million.
Are you taking the necessary precautions to stop a fire from ruining your business? Disaster prevention can make the biggest difference in office and employee safety.
Compare your safety measures to this guide for fire safety in the workplace.
Perform Routine Safety Checks
Having safety equipment installed is only half the battle. You must be sure to perform routine safety checks and maintain equipment as needed. This includes your fire alarms and extinguishers, smoke detectors, and sprinklers.
Schedule your maintenance checks and keep a log of each visit for quick reference.
Create Safety Guidelines For Hazardous Materials
Teach your employees how to identify flammable materials and substances. Educate them on safety protocols for handling anything that could endanger their safety. Post guidelines and hazardous material signs wherever needed.
For added protection, provide safety gear for employees to use when handling hazardous materials.
Designate Safe Smoking Areas
Lighted cigarettes, ashes, and cigarette butts can cause a building fire when used irresponsibly. Mark clear designated areas a safe distance from your property. And post “No Smoking” signs inside the building and around combustible materials.
Check For Electrical Hazards
According to the USFA report above, electrical malfunctions are the second leading cause of office and store fires. Ask employees to assist with fire protection by not overloading electrical outlets. They should also report any damaged equipment cords and cables upon discovery.
Conduct Regular Fire Drills
What good is an evacuation plan if no one knows what it is? Run periodic fire drills to gauge the readiness of your team. Practice drills keep your employees prepared for a real emergency.
Be sure you have trained fire marshals assigned to direct employees to safety. And post exit signs and escape routes as aids in a stressful situation.
Limit Office Appliances
Some offices have kitchenettes with refrigerators, microwaves, and toasters. Check your building amenities against this list of appliances causing the most fires. You’ll find it’s best to limit these appliances outside your employee cafeteria or staffed break rooms.
Take another look at the USFA’s report that lists cooking as the cause of 32.3% of office fires.
Restrict Portable Heaters
Often employees have personal equipment in the office. Allowing someone to have a heater at their desk can become disastrous, especially if a heater is left unattended or not powered down at the end of the workday.
Portable electric heaters can cause plugs and outlets to overheat. Having a heater plugged into a power strip can also pose a danger. With so many safety tips for operating a portable heater, it’s safest to restrict their use in the office.
Fire Safety in the Workplace
Staying safe at work should always be a top priority. Routine equipment maintenance and elimination of electrical hazards promote fire safety in the workplace. Our safety measures also help to protect employees in case of a building fire.
Be sure to check out our other blogs on maintaining safety in the workplace.