How often do you review the fire safety plan for your workplace?
Fires may seem rare, but they can happen to anyone. It’s critical that your employees are trained to assess the danger risk. They need to know when they should attempt to fight the fire with a fire extinguisher, and when they should evacuate.
Workplace Fire Safety Guidelines for Employers
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA, requires workplaces to come up with a written fire safety plan and to review the plan with employees. No matter what plan you choose, all employees must be trained in fire prevention, fire safety, and proper evacuation. Here are some examples of fire safety plans that you might choose to implement:
Train designated employees to use the fire extinguishers.
In this plan, specific employees are trained and authorized to fight a fire if it’s determined manageable, while all unauthorized employees must evacuate the premises.
Train all employees to use the fire extinguishers.
This plan would mean that any and all employees could choose to stay and fight a fire after assessing the safety of the situation. Every employee would need to be trained in all aspects of fire safety.
Require immediate evacuation in case of a fire—no one is authorized to stay and fight.
If you choose an immediate evacuation plan, no one is authorized to use the fire extinguishers. In case of a fire, the building must be evacuated right away.
Workplace Fire Safety Guidelines for Employees
Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with a fire at work. However, you need to be prepared in case it happens. Learn these guidelines. If you can remember them during a fire situation, you’ll know whether you should attempt to extinguish the fire, or evacuate.
Have you been trained or authorized to use the fire extinguisher?
If you’re not sure how to use the fire extinguisher, it’s best to leave it to someone who has been trained or who has done it before.
Is there a fire department close by?
If trained firefighters will be able to reach the scene quickly, you’re probably better off leaving it to them.
Is the fire small and contained?
Does it seem to be small and contained, or is it rapidly growing and spreading? A fire is still considered “manageable” as long as the flames are no higher than the fighter’s head.
Is the air breathable?
If the air isn’t breathable due to heat and/or smoke, you should evacuate immediately—even if the flames are still small.
Is there still an evacuation route?
Even if a fire is small enough to be fought, it’s important to make sure an evacuation route is available at all times. If there is any danger that the fire will block all your exits before you can extinguish it— evacuate immediately.