The defining moment of human civilization was the discovery of fire, which resulted in harnessing of fire and heat energy for cooking, lighting, heating, creating tools, to name a just few uses. Gradually, humans discovered the numerous uses of electricity and now we use electricity in almost all of our everyday activities.
However, the major challenge working with electricity and fire is the accidents that happen due to carelessness or malfunctioning of machinery and equipment. These accidents may start as a simple spark and can take the shape of a tragic inferno that can result in the loss of many precious lives and property.
Many accident investigations have found out that the cause of fire in workplaces and factories are due to human negligence and could have been averted by conducting timely checks and proper maintenance.
By learning fire safety, employees can prevent fire accidents from occurring in the first place.
Learning fire safety can help employees to take all necessary steps to save lives and resources in case a fire accident occurs inadvertently, in spite of all best measures from the employees.
Fire safety lessons can help employees to be proactive and remain alert for all possible signs of fire hazards and detect any potential malfunctioning in wiring or machinery.
Hence, it is important to make sure that employees in every organization are educated about fire safety and the various ways they can prevent fire accidents.
Some of the ways the employees can be educated to identify hazard and prevent fire accidents are:
- Ensure that all heat-producing machine and equipment (such as photocopiers, laptops, batteries, coffee makers, etc) placed far away from inflammable materials.
- Make sure that all electrical wires and extensions are insulated properly and maintained in great condition. Any faulty wiring is a potential fire hazard and nearly 39% of fire accidents in workplace are due to short circuit or faulty wiring. If you find any damaged or exposed wires, you must inform the operations or facilities department and check that they are kept out of service until they have been replaced or repaired.
- Remember to keep your work station clean, clutter-free, and no inflammable substance around.
- Your mobile battery may be running out of the minimum charge, however, ensure that you don’t overload the electrical sockets and power outlets with your charger(s).
- If you need to plug the charger your personal devices, make sure that the plug should be compatible with the electrical sockets.
- Remain alert when working with any machine that overheats or emits a burning smell.
- Check the fire response devices at regular intervals, including fire alarms, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers. If the devices are not found to be working properly, inform the facilities or operations department immediately.
- Keep the inflammable substances and chemicals far away from any heating object.
- Ensure that there are unhindered escape routes and emergency exits in the building and the way to the exit points and evacuation instructions can be easily accessed by all employees across all floors.
Some accidents investigations reveal that employers are equally at fault when it comes to fire mishaps in their workplaces. Some accidents could have been averted with just a little help from employers. A few things employers can do to help employees to prevent a fire accident or protect themselves in case of a fire accident:
- An emergency response team should be built in every organization in which alert, spontaneous, and fit employees are trained and given the autonomy to act decisively in case of an emergency.
- Fire drills must be conducted in regular intervals in which all employees must exit the building within the predetermined time.
- Place adequate fire extinguishers around the workplace and inspect their efficacy in regular intervals.
- Make sure to have the right kind of fire extinguishers for specific kinds of fire because different fire extinguishers are made for different fire accidents. A fire extinguisher made for fires caused by ordinary combustibles such as cardboard and paper will not be helpful for grease fires.
- Designate a smoking area for employees to smoke during breaks and implement strict penalty for smoking inside office premises other than the designated smoking areas.
It is essential for employees to know the importance of fire safety as they can prevent fire accidents from happening in the first place or can take life saving measures in the aftermath of a fire accident.