No matter the industry, industrial workplaces can pose many potential dangers to workers and workplace safety. Fires are especially pervasive in many industrial workplaces, so we’ve compiled a brief guide on some essential fire safety rules that everyone should follow.
#1: Have an Evacuation Plan
First and foremost, every industrial workplace needs an effective evacuation plan. Fires and explosions in industrial settings can happen instantly; the difference between safety and harm for many can come down to knowing what to do and where to go in only a few moments.
A clear evacuation plan is essential to worker safety should the worst occur. It’s not just recommended but required by OSHA that every workplace has an evacuation strategy and conducts frequent drills so everyone understands the plan clearly.
#2: Have Exits & Escape Routes Marked
A clear and accurate evacuation strategy includes obvious exits and designated escape routes known to all workers. Safety laws require well-marked exits, but there are other ways to help make escape easier and safer for workers.
Many workplaces install floor lights along escape routes, so anyone who has to crawl to escape fire and smoke knows where to go. Post maps of escape routes and exits anywhere in the workplace where employees congregate, such as in the break room.
#3: Conduct Routine Drills & Training
The best strategy for ensuring that all employees in the workplace understand evacuation plans and safety measures is to conduct routine drills and fire safety training. Employees must understand what to do in emergencies, like shutting off power sources, sounding alarms, and directing other employees to safety.
Unannounced fire drills are opportunities to test the workplace and workers’ emergency readiness. If there are faults in the emergency strategies, it’s better to learn them during a harmless drill than in a real harmful situation.
#4: Ensure Proper PPE for Workers
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is also essential for worker safety and requires diligent maintenance. All workers in potentially hazardous workplaces require PPE, and they should fit comfortably and be high-quality—not easily succumbing to wear and tear.
Regular inspections of employee PPE ensure that everyone has adequate protection in emergencies. If you require any fire-resistant (FR) gear for men or women workers, FR Outlet has an extensive inventory of men’s and ladies’ FR clothing, from pants to coveralls and more.
#5: Maintain Safety Equipment
Along with PPE and escape routes, safety equipment is crucial to preventing and mitigating potential fires and explosions in the workplace. Examples of safety equipment in an industrial setting include:
- Fire hoses
- Fire extinguishers
- Smoke alarms
- Emergency lockdown procedures
It’s vital to worker and workplace safety that these preventative and mitigating measures work when needed, so regular maintenance is essential. Every workplace should conduct regular tests and inspections of their safety equipment to ensure that they’ll be ready when the time comes that they’re needed.
#6: Inspect Electrical Equipment
One of the most common causes of workplace fires and explosions is malfunctioning electrical equipment and components. Faulty wiring, machine overheating, and other general electrical issues are opportunities for fires and combustions in industrial workplaces.
If your workplace has many electrical panels and components, it’s vital to conduct regular inspections and maintenance of the electrical equipment to prevent any significant malfunctions or accidents. Many industrial businesses hire third-party agencies to conduct electrical inspections to get an unbiased opinion of the workplace’s electrical safety.
#7: Keep Workspace Clean
Perhaps the most basic safety rule for industrial and other workplaces is to keep them clean and tidy. A messy, debris-filled workplace is more likely to experience accidents and injuries that could lead to more severe hazards like fires and explosions.
A clean workplace is a safe workplace, and if your area is messy, it’s likely due to disorganization or confusion about things like the storage of equipment and materials. Ensure everyone understands the proper organization, sanitation, and garbage disposal protocols in the workplace to keep it clean and the workers safe.
#8: Store Hazardous Materials Safely
Flammable materials and chemicals are other common culprits of workplace fires and explosions. If your workplace contains hazardous materials, we don’t have to tell you the importance of ensuring they’re stored carefully and safely.
Even seemingly harmless materials like printing paper and supplies can act as fuel for fires if stored near flammable materials or ignition sources. This is another example where routine inspections are helpful to ensure that dangerous materials aren’t stored in hazardous settings.
#9: Keep Ignition Sources Away From Flammable Materials
Many industrial workplaces contain flammable and combustible materials and potential ignition sources under one roof. The last thing a workplace wants is for these two things to come into contact with one another and become catalysts for explosions and fires.
Many flammable materials are commonplace in industrial settings like:
- Combustible dust
- Flammable gasses (hydrogen, methane, oxygen)
If your workplace contains any or all these combustible sources, keep them away from settings where workers perform functions such as welding, brazing, etc., to prevent these flammable materials from coming into contact with an ignition source of sparks and heat.
#10: Only Smoke in Designated Areas
Every workplace that prohibits smoking on the premises must designate an area for smoking since the last thing anyone wants is someone smoking near flammable materials! Naturally, smoking only in these designated areas is an essential fire safety rule that everyone must comply with—even if they think they can smoke in an area that doesn’t contain flammable materials.
While many workers understand the danger, it’s still wise to include training and education about why smoking in designated areas is vital to workplace safety for them and their other workers.
Those are just a few of our fire safety rules for industrial workplaces that everyone should follow, but there are plenty more. If you have any questions about FR gear and PPE for yourself or your workers, don’t hesitate to contact our expert staff at FR Outlet to help you get the protection you need!