How to Manage Fires In the Workplace - Fundamentals of Fire Safety
There are a few fundamental items associated to fire in the workplace as well as at home, it's important these fundamental areas are identified and managed appropriately.
In this short video, I'm going to introduce some basic fundamentals about fire in the workplace. If you would like a detailed fire safety awareness webinar training, you can watch one for free here.
With fire you need heat, fuel, and oxygen. Often oxygen can come from the environment, so you have to look at what the sources of the heat and fuel may be.
In many of our workplaces there are many sources of fire, from electrical appliances, including small desktop computers, through to the use of oxygen and gases.
You have to consider the hazards associated from these sources to the environment, or workplace in terms of assets, and people.
Fire Risk Assessment:
You can use a fire risk assessment to understand the likelihood of a fire occurring, and the associated risk of this happening.
That's not to say that you have to remove those sources, simply you have to be able to demonstrate a method of controlling them.
Where possible, something that has a greater potential, you may wish to replace it with something, do something different, or put additional barriers in place.
Fire Emergency Plan:
Once you have understood the likelihood and put controls in place, you must consider your fire emergency plan.
This is often a simple document that outlines:
How you try to prevent and manage the sources of fire
The potential outcomes if a fire occurs
The methods of communication to your workforce - including: visitors, contractors, members of the public or neighbors close by.
That plan should go into the level of detail that's appropriate for the place that you work in and for the likelihood and level of risk.
Fire Evacuation and Means of Escape:
As well as the plan, often embedded within it or separately outside, is a method on how people can get out of the building in the case of an emergency. This can be drawn up as a small diagram to show:
Where exit routes are
Where the call bells are
Where methods of warning others are
Where there are firefighting appliances
The route to take to the muster point (the place of congregation).
It is important to remember a method on how you introduce this information to the people that come to your site through a form of induction, of awareness training.
You must keep records of evidence of this happening, and where required, and especially when there are any changes, that you ensure that this is refreshed. It is often good practice to do a small refresher every year or two, just to let people know.
Fire Safety Mistakes:
One of the key things we often see in the workplace is that companies normalize, what potentially are, high risk situations from fire.
I think one of the reasons for this is simply because they're working in that environment and have been for a long time and this is not that that type of environment is wrong, but the method of control and what they do to control that, is not up to par.
Fire Safety Resources:
You need to think about the items you have in your workplace that help manage the fire safety risks, this is:
The method of notifying people
Any emergency lighting activities
It is important that a number of these things are checked and often can be checked by a third party, and ensure that they are continuing to operate correctly.
Testing Your Fire Emergency Plan:
It is good practice to undertake a test of your plan, and this is recommended to be done twice a year.
This will involve you setting off the alarm where people are not aware that it's going to occur and to ensure that they follow the correct practices, and follow the correct routes.
Records of this should be retained within a fire logbook or on a compliance system. All of this information provides a method of demonstrating control so that you can minimize the risk to your assets, environment, and importantly, human life.
This is just a small insight into Fire Safety in the workplace. If you would like more information on this topic, or a video to use as a training resource, we recommend you check out our free Fire Safety Awareness Training Webinar, which you can watch here.