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Protecting Your Workforce From the Dangers of Fire

Last month was National Fire safety month and it saw businesses up and down the country placing extra emphasis on their fire safety practices and into making their staff aware of the dangers of fire.

While it goes without saying that any kind of fire is a risk to life, it is often not widely known that fires can lead to job losses. An alarming number of places of business are never re-built after they have burnt down.

With this in mind, we have put together a few brief tips that will help kick-start any company’s fire safety campaign and training to save some extra bucks.

Possibly the best place to start when it comes to fire prevention is to make a good housekeeping a priority and something all staff members should be aware of. Clutter and debris easily become fuel for any fire and in worst-case scenarios it can become an obstacle to staff when they are trying to escape from a burning building.

In some worst-case scenarios, it can even prevent people from escaping at all.

Also, any business that involves using machinery should be thoroughly assessed for any potential fire risks that they may pose.

 If a machine has a large amount of mechanical parts, or used for a long period of time in a manufacturing process, residual heat can build up. This is where housekeeping comes in again, if the machines are allowed to get dirty and bits of materials aren’t cleaned out from its internal workings the residual heat can cause the debris to ignite.

One final point about machinery, it should always have good access at all sides along with clear access to any electrical control panels so it can be easily isolated in an emergency. It is also wise to fit smoke alarms near these machines to detect any fires before they are fully established.The danger of this kind of risk is that it can happen long after the machine is turned off and the work force has gone home.

A business also needs to have a clear and concise evacuation plan that all staff are familiar with.

The evacuation plan should document the responsibilities of each staff member, whether it is to man an emergency exit or clear members of the public from the premises, someone should also be responsible for a roll-call when all staff members reach the emergency meeting point. These processes should be tested with regular fire drills.

Peter Christopher

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