EHS Top Ten Tuesday: Fire Safety
1. Approximately 75% of fire related deaths are due to smoke inhalation rather than burns or other injuries.
2. Arson is the leading cause of non-residential structure fires in the United States, followed by electrical distribution systems.
3. Good housekeeping and proper storage of flammables and combustibles are important but often overlooked aspects of fire prevention and safety.
- Waste should not be allowed to accumulate. Combustible or flammable wastes should be removed daily.
- Keep electrical panels, heating devices, and other electrical equipment clear of waste and clutter, especially combustibles and flammables.
- Flammable and combustible liquids should be kept in approved containers. Large quantities of flammable and/or combustible liquids should be kept in approved flammables cabinets.
- Flammable gas cylinders should be stored in a well protected, well ventilated area away from sources of heat or ignition. Cylinders should be properly secured with valve cap protection in place.
- Oxygen cylinders should be stored separately from all flammables.
4. Workplaces must be equipped with an emergency alarm system that alerts employees to fires and other emergencies. The alarm should provide sufficient time for employees to safely evacuate the workplace or area.
5. Emergency alarm systems, fire prevention systems, and fire extinguishing equipment require regular maintenance and testing to verify that they are functioning properly.
6. Emergency evacuation routes and exits must be properly marked and adequately lighted to allow employees to safely evacuate.
7. Emergency evacuation routes and exits must remain clear of obstructions and obstacles at all times.
8. Emergency exit doors must remain unlocked in the direction of exit and should be free of locks or devices that require tools or special knowledge to operate them.
9. Fire extinguishing equipment, including portable fire extinguishers, should only be used by properly trained personnel. Employees required to use fire extinguishing equipment must receive training on an annual basis.
10. Fire prevention and safety are addressed in a number of OSHA regulations, including but not limited to 1910.39 Fire Prevention Plans; 1910.106 Flammable and Combustible Liquids; and 1910 Subpart L Fire Protection.