Fire safety matters as much in the workplace as it does in the home. In some industries, it may matter even more.

Regardless of the industry a business is in, every business owner holds the responsibility to keep the workplace safe. With June being National Safety Month it is a good time to consider reviewing fire safety initiatives and revise your company’s fire safety plan.

There are many fire safety guidelines your business may already have to follow. Guidelines set forth by OSHA, the NFPA, and local municipal fire codes. It is important to comply with the guidelines and to be diligent on keeping up with those that may change.

Prepare against fire in the workplace with these tips:

  • Don’t overload power outlets or power strips with electrical devices. This in turn can overload the circuit and cause an electrical fire.
  • Unplug all non-essential electronics at the end of every work day. This will decrease the likelihood of overloading a circuit when no one is there to catch it.
  • Keep equipment in good working order and in its own area. For example, large multi-use copy machines should be kept out of the way and away from desks or areas where paper can pile up.
  • Designated cooking areas should be removed from the general work area. Always use the designated kitchen area for any cooking, microwaving or coffee brewing needs.
  • Keep the work area tidy. Rid desks of paper clutter – file what you need and discard of everything else. Loose debris, like paper, can easily catch on fire and cause it to spread.
  • Be sure fire extinguishers are placed in strategic areas and in accordance with code requirements.
  • Know your exits and be sure they are properly marked.

If a workplace fire occurs:

  • If the fire is in an incipient state use a fire extinguisher. If the fire has begun to spread, get out immediately. Pull a fire alarm along the way and call 911.
  • Follow all evacuations plans as instructed and practiced.
  • Never use an elevator or escalator in escaping a fire.
  • As rooms are emptied close the doors, especially in the room where the fire originated. This will help keep the smoke and fire from spreading for a short period.
  • Follow all emergency lighting and exit signs. Do not detour from your plans or lighted emergency exit paths.
  • Fire safety preparedness for the business property owner:
  • Ensure the proper quantity and size of portable fire extinguishers for the size workplace.
  • Install a fire detection system for larger buildings, at the very least have smoke alarms in every unit or room. Consider a building fire sprinkler or suppression system.
  • Maintain emergency lighting and exit signs along evacuation routes to increase evacuation safety and speed.
  • Perform the required monthly fire extinguisher inspections. See to it that any and all deficiencies are corrected
  • Arrange to have all fire extinguishers inspected annually by a licensed company specializing in fire suppression services.
  • For restaurant owners: keep your fire suppression system in good working order. Never install or replace with used equipment. Arrange for semi-annual inspections and stay in compliance with fire code.

Fire safety is a big deal. One that everyone working in a company should be trained for. Having good safety plans in place helps to protect your workers and your business. Stay up to code, stay compliant with OSHA, and stay safe.