To recognize Fire Prevention Week (October 4-10, 2020), it only seems fitting to remind ourselves of the most common fire hazards in the workplace year round. By taking a few minutes to look at these commons areas, it allows us to identify and clear up any areas that may be a risk in the workplace.
Fire Extinguisher Malfunction
A fire extinguisher is not only important to workplace safety, but mandatory. Sometimes they can malfunction which is why it’s crucial to perform regular maintenance, such as: ensuring they are accessible, looking for damage to the components, reviewing the pressure gauge and replacing the extinguishers if they are expired or damaged. Always engage a professional, or the Fire Department, to ensure the highest standard is being adhered to.
Clutter around Electrical Panels & Fire Extinguisher
Clutter is one of the most common sources of fire hazards throughout an office or workplace. Keeping all work spaces as tidy and accessible as possible is key to minimizing the risk of fire. Dust, clutter and waste accumulation around electrical panels and fire extinguishers makes it difficult for workers and Fire Fighters alike to access these items, and use them in the event of an emergency. Additionally, should a spark originate from an electrical panel or breaker – which is often the case – the clutter, dust and waste exacerbates the hazard.
Improper storage/disposal of flammables
One element common to all workplaces is paper, cardboard boxes or other flammable materials. The issue with these items in your workplace is they can act as a significant source of fuel to a fire when sparked. It’s very important to keep these items clean, orderly and stored safely in storage cabinets, lockers, or disposed of neatly and regularly.
Dust & Garbage
This one isn’t quite as obvious as the others. Dust can easily and quickly build up especially when there isn’t proper ventilation. Obvious to most, it’s important to keep your workplace clean, while also ensuring that dust isn’t building up around outlets or extension cords by keepin air vents open, professionally cleaning ducts, and maintaining the furnace filter. If you have machinery, be sure to consider extraction fans and if you work with machinery that heats up when operating, be sure it’s cleaned regularly. Prevention is the best form of fire safety.
Overused Extension Cords
Extension cords are a quick solution to workplace (and residential) needs of all sorts – but they can pose a great danger if improperly used. By over using a power socket or splitter, one could cause it to overheat and ignite sparks. The answer – always check the power output limits/requirements of your socket AND the extension cord/splitter you wish you use. Ensure that you are safely within those requirements and never overwhelm a socket.