A Proactive Approach to Reducing the Risk of Fire
The old saying, “forewarned is forearmed”, should remind us that conducting regular fire inspections is the best way to keep the incidence of fires low. By identifying fire hazards in your shop, you can correct them before they cause a fire.
In conducting your inspections, here are some hazards to look for:
Keep solvents and other hazardous materials in clearly labeled containers with the name of the chemical or brand name. To minimize the risk of fire, all flammable liquids, regardless of the amount, must be stored in a fireproof cabinet. This is an OSHA regulation. Solvent-soaked rags should also be stored in covered metal containers. Never store any type of combustible material in a furnace room.
Keep a fire extinguisher mounted within ten feet of your storage cabinet and make sure that it is regularly inspected (typically monthly) and kept in working order. A commercial-grade multi-purpose fire extinguisher will cost less than $75.
To remind your employees not to smoke where the flammable liquids are stored, post “NO SMOKING” signs in your shop.
Mount fire extinguishers along the walkways to your emergency exits. Extinguishers should be with 75 feet of an exit.
Fire extinguishers must be visually inspected on a monthly basis. Employees must be trained on how to use them.
In the United States, every workplace must have at least two separate fire exits. These fire exits should be located far apart, so if a fire blocks one exit, workers can safely exit through the other. Illuminated “EXIT” signs must in place and in working order.
Never lock or block any exit door. Aisles should be free and clear of anything that could hinder evacuation. While this may sound like stating the obvious, each year needless fire deaths occur because exit doors are locked.
Battery powered emergency lights should also be installed in areas such as stairwells to provide lighting if the electrical power goes out. Batteries should be regularly checked and replaced as needed.
Make sure that an evacuation route is clearly marked using a glow-in-the-dark, photoluminescent, pressure-sensitive film, such as RTape’s GlowEfx™. As the building’s occupants crawl to safety, they can follow the path illuminated with the photoluminescent film. Glow-in-the-dark striping applied to a baseboard or directly on tile flooring can also mark a path of egress in a dark hallway. To prevent people from tripping at a stairway, you can apply photoluminescent film strips to the treads, or apply the film just above or on a handrail. If the pathway to safety leads up a stairway, glow-in-the-dark material can be adhered to the risers of the stairs. Strips of photoluminescent material can also be applied around a door entrance way.
For more ideas on how you can prevent fires at work or in your home, read ‘The Comprehensive Resource of Fire Safety Tips’: http://complianceandsafety.