Is your workplace safe from fire?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's main goals are to keep workers safe and to ultimately save lives. Throughout the years, there has been a history of fires in the workplace; people have lost their lives because there were no fire exits, there were no fire extinguishing systems, and the exits weren’t clearly marked.
OSHA conducts workplace inspections and checks to see if employers are complying to the fire safety standards.
Employers are required to provide the following:
Provide Fire Extinguishers
- Fire extinguishers should be provided, made visible and be placed throughout the workplace.
- Employees should be trained on how to properly use a fire extinguisher and how to put out a small fire.
- Fire extinguishers should be inspected and kept up-to-date. Also, there are different types of fire extinguishers, and employers should be using the correct extinguishers, based on their needs.
- There should be documented rules for workers to read, fire drills and maps on how to exit.
- Automatic sprinkler systems, that are up to code, can save lives. These systems are usually required and have become more efficient through the years. Older systems might be grandfathered in and don’t have to be replaced, but might not be as efficient as the newer systems. These sprinkler systems work when a fire is detected; the sprinkler system will automatically turn on and the fire can be put out before it spreads.
- There should be two exits for workers.
- If there are fire doors, these must remain secured and locked.
- There should be visible maps, exit signs and an unobstructed way for workers to get out.
- Employers should give workers an exit plan in writing. Make sure there is an accountability step in place, a way to make sure all the people in the building accounted for.
- Handicapped workers might need help, or might need a special plan to exit. This plan must be figured out before the threat of an emergency.
- There must be a way to alert the people that there is a fire and everyone must exit the building.
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