Paper mills are rife with fire hazards. Ensure that your paper mill is safe for everyone with our tips for reducing fire risk, from adequate safety training to protective equipment for workers.
Conduct a Fire Hazard Analysis
Before you can begin to reduce the fire risk in your paper mill, you must conduct a fire hazard analysis to evaluate areas of risk better. Go through every aspect of the mill to identify areas where the fire risk is most significant, so you can focus on the risks that need the most attention.
These fire risk areas include those with improper ventilation, which allows dust and dirt to accumulate, or areas with a large inventory of flammable products, which are expected in a paper mill. Once you know where the risk is most prominent, you can begin to develop strategies for reducing risk.
Install Fire Risk-Reducing Protocols
Once you’ve evaluated the present danger of fire in the mill, you can develop strategies and protocols for workers to follow to reduce the risk. These protocols should put safety first and should address the handling of flammable materials, the maintenance of equipment, and proper protective equipment for workers.
Fire safety isn’t about fixing something once, but rather the repetition of safe practices and protocols in places where fire hazards are most prevalent.
Educate and Train Employees in Fire Safety
A significant aspect of fire safety protocols in any workplace is employee education and training. Ensure that everyone in a fire hazard area understands the risk and proper procedures for reducing that risk for themselves and coworkers.
Pro tip: Consider assigning someone the role of Fire Warden to oversee fire safety supervision, education, and training in the workplace.
Fire safety measures are only helpful when everyone follows them, so ensure that employees understand the significance of the education and training. Workers should feel safe and empowered to raise concerns about safety awareness and fire risks to coworkers and superiors.
Invest in FR Clothing for Workers
Even with all the fire safety training and education, mistakes and accidents still happen. That’s why proper fire-resistant (FR) clothing and protective gear are essential for workers in any workplace with fire hazards.
If you haven’t already, consider investing in an FR uniform program or giving workers an allowance to purchase their FR clothing for work. There are many styles of FR garments to choose from to fit your workplace, from FR overalls to FR long-sleeve shirts and FR pants.
Clean and Maintain Equipment Thoroughly
One of the most common culprits of fires in the workplace is poorly maintained equipment and unsanitary working conditions. Dirty equipment can cause sparks or overheat, becoming an ignition source for flammable materials in the area. Install thorough cleaning and maintenance inspections for all equipment—especially those that could become an ignition source and fire risk.
Plan Fire Emergency Procedures
Last but certainly not least, every workplace needs emergency procedures in case of a fire. A clear and safe evacuation and emergency plan is essential to a workplace and ensures that everyone knows what to do to keep themselves and coworkers safe in the case of a fire.
Conduct regular fire drills so everyone is aware and understands their role and what they should do in the case of a sudden fire.