We all remember practicing fire drills when we were in school; the designated exits and routes, the flashing lights and loud alarms, and the teachers explaining the exact spot on the school grounds where we were to meet the rest of our class in the event of a fire.
But what about in the workplace? Have you ever experienced a fire drill while at work? Generally, workplaces do not practice fire drills, but OSHA standards do require employers to provide proper exits, firefighting equipment, emergency plans, and employee training to prevent fire deaths and injuries in the workplace.
Additionally, OSHA requires a plan in case of a workplace emergency, which, in addition to fire, includes: floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, toxic gas release, chemical spills, radiological accidents, explosions, civil disturbances, and workplace violence.
In regards to fire, OSHA requires that your facility must be equipped with:
- At least two means of escape during a fire emergency, with exit routes clear and free of obstructions and properly marked with signs designating exits from the building. Fire doors must not be blocked or locked to prevent emergency use.
- An approved, portable fire extinguisher, specific to the fire hazards present and in good operating condition. Employees must be properly instructed on the hazards of fighting fire and how to operate the fire extinguisher.
- A written emergency action plan for evacuation of employees which describes the routes to use and procedures to be followed by employees, as well as a way to account for all evacuated employees. Training of all employees in what is to be done in an emergency is required. Employers must review the plan with all employees.
- A written fire prevention plan to accompany the fire evacuation plan to stop unwanted fires from occurring. Housekeeping procedures for storage and cleanup of flammable materials and flammable waste must be included in the plan. Procedures for controlling workplace ignition or other heat sources such as smoking, welding, burning, heat exchangers, boilers, ovens, stoves, fryers, etc., must be addressed in the plan and be properly maintained and kept clean. All employees are to be apprised of the potential fire hazards of their job. The plan shall be reviewed with all employees.
- A fire suppression system that is properly designed and installed to enhance fire safety in the workplace. Automatic sprinkler systems are among the most reliable fire fighting means by detecting the fire, sounding an alarm and putting the water where the fire and heat are located.
To help your workplace stay in compliance, Summit and 24/7 Fire have what you need.
Summit has multiple programs that will help you and your workforce prevent one of the most common, costly, and deadly workplace accidents from happening at your site.