Fire Safety in the Workplace

Workplace Fire Safety

The department has two goals when it comes to maintaining a safe place to work. First we want everyone to be able to work in a safe environment and second, we want business to stay in business.

We address fire safety problems with businesses and commercials establishments through our inspection program. While we do that on a regular basis, employees have a responsibility to see that their work areas remain free of fire hazards.

There are a lot of things you can do to help your employer maintain a safe place to work.

First and foremost, if you notice a hazard in your work area, it should always be reported to your supervisor or employer in accordance with policies and standards developed by your employer.

Workplace Fire Safety depends on properly operating detection or suppression equipment. Fire equipment is widely varied between types of businesses so you may want to ask questions about specific types of equipment.

Some of the things you should look for are:

Fire Extinguishers. They should be easy to reach. The gauge on the handle should have a needle reading in the green area. Above or below the green area means the extinguisher might not work when needed.

Automatic Sprinkler Systems. You’ll know you have this type of equipment is there is a sprinkler head (a silver V shaped head spaced every couple of feet in the ceiling). Make sure not to attach anything to the head and not to paint it. With Sprinkler systems there is usually a large outlet somewhere near the building called a Fire Department Connection. This is where we will attach our hoses, in case of fire, to support the sprinkler system. Make sure the caps are on the ends of the connection and that it’s not blocked.

Automatic Hood Systems. These units are found in restaurants and cooking establishments. They are located directly over deep-fat fryers, ovens, grilles, and other cooking equipment. You should know how to manually activate the system from a pull station usually located near the kitchen exit.

Smoke Detectors. Although not required in many offices and businesses, smoke detectors provide an early warning to the potential presence of fire. Smoke Detectors should not be painted nor have anything attached to them. In commercial applications the smoke detector is usually connected to an alarm system, so they should not be tested without notifying your employer.

Alarm Systems. The most common component you will see in an alarm system is the Pull Station or a Smoke Detector, as described above. The Pull Station is usually located near an exit door and will sound an alarm inside the building when activated. Again, Pull Stations should not be painted or handled in any way.

House Keeping. Everybody has trash and most trash is combustible with even the smallest spark. Make sure your work area is neat and tidy with trash secured in a container. Containers should be emptied outside as often as they fill.

There are many other types of systems that you might come across during your employment. If you have questions be sure to ask your supervisor or employer, who will be glad to answer your questions.