Any responsible business owner or office manager should be concerned about things potentially going wrong when it comes to workplace fire safety and whether or not there are enough preventative measures to avoid this from becoming a reality. When it comes to fires and workplace safety, there are five simple steps to take today that could make a major difference tomorrow.
“Preventing a small flame from becoming a bigger one and potentially burning down your office or factory involves important change behaviour on the part of your staff or colleagues. It also demands crucial investment in firefighting equipment,” says Andrew Worthington, general manager: Fidelity Fire Solutions, a division of the Fidelity Services Group.
He suggests these steps that could be taken:
• Keep it clean and neat. Any workspace that is cluttered or untidy, could play a big part in the ignition of or the rapid spread of fires. Don’t leave boxes or pieces of combustible equipment standing around, but rather remove them to a safe storage room. Uncluttered floor spaces also make it easier to evacuate the building in case of an emergency.
• Check your equipment. Fire alarms and smoke detectors are vital tools in the early detection of smoke or flames. By having the right equipment for your specific needs, you can reduce the risks of losing it all in a blaze. Speak to a specialist service provider, who can advise you on fire extinguishers, detection and gas suppression systems and even sprinkler systems. This includes the regular maintenance of whatever equipment you have installed.
• Assess the risks. It is impossible to plan for something if you don’t first properly determine what the risks are that you are dealing with. There are professional service providers who can visit your office or factory and give you specialist advice on what specific risks you face and how to address them. Remember that risks and circumstances change, which means an assessment should be completed on a regular basis.
• Train the team. Any effective fire prevention plan also requires the active involvement of your team members. In bigger organisations, companies have chosen to appoint 'fire wardens' who take responsibility for their area or department. They can safely escort their colleagues out of the building during an evacuation. Smaller organisations can also spend time by demonstrating to their personnel what to do and how to respond if a fire does occur and teaching them what to do to help prevent a fire.
• Don’t neglect anything electrical. Any office or workplace that makes use of electricity must be sure that all cables and wires are safe. Overloaded plug points can overheat and lead to electrical sparks, which often can lead to a fire that destroys the entire building.
“If you have any questions about the fire readiness of your buildings and premises, the best thing you can do today is to speak to a fire specialist. Ask as many questions as you need to, to help ensure the safety of your colleagues, the protection of your assets and customer safety,” says Worthington.
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