Workplace Fire Safety: Don’t Underestimate the Risk

As a business owner, workplace fire safety measures are one of the most critical things you need to put in place in order to protect you, your employees, and your livelihood. According to the National Fire Protection Association, office fires kill an average of four people each year and injure another 37.  Further, such fires cause about $108 million dollars in damage annually.  But even a minor workplace fire can disrupt your business operations to the point where you may lose a considerable amount of income.

To keep your workplace safe from fires, it is important that it has the proper fire extinguishers and fire alarms placed throughout.  And you need to make sure that these items are in working order.  A fire alarm that is not working cannot alert you to dangerous smoke or fire. It also is a good idea to conduct company-wide fire drills on a regular basis and have clearly marked evacuation routes and exit signs located throughout the office.

In addition to preventive fire measures that can help to protect employees and your company, you should make sure that employees follow strict rules to avoid a fire from breaking out in the first place. Some of the lesser known causes of fire hazards in the workplace include things like space heaters and coffee pots that are left on.  Other hazards include overloaded electrical sockets and damaged electrical wires.  Employees should also be told to minimize clutter and to always dispose of cigarettes butts and matches properly.

In workplaces where chemicals and flammable materials are used, it is important to familiarize yourself and your employees with the correct handling and storage of such materials.  Proper ventilations also is essential.

A fire is an accident that you cannot fully anticipate but being vigilant can go a long way to reduce the chance of damage from workplace fires. If you are unsure of exactly how to best protect your employees and business from fire, it is a good idea to consult with a safety services company who can perform annual – or more frequent – inspections to make sure that your business is protected from fire hazards.