According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, explosions and fires were responsible for 148 workplace deaths in 2013, 3.4 percent of all fatal occupation injuries for the year.
OSHA standards require employees to have adequate fire safety equipment and training. It is not enough to just have a fire extinguisher, employees must know how to use it. Likewise, evacuation routes must be explained in the event of an emergency, not just written somewhere. Not all workplaces require fire extinguishers on site, as is with an emergency action plan.
All workplaces must have enough exits for the amount of people who work there. Considerations that should be taken into account include:
- Fire protection available
- Number of people at risk for exposure
- Type of building structure
- Type of industry and known hazards within that industry including chemical, mechanical and construction.
All exit ways must remain open and free of clutter at all times. If your company requires an emergency action plan it must:
- Account for all evacuated employees
- Describe routes for workers to use and procedures to follow
- Ensure emergency training is performed and known
- Include preferred means of alerting employees to fire emergency
- Provide an employee alarm system throughout the workplace
- Require an alarm system that uses both voice activation and sound signals
- Require review of the safety plan whenever a new hire is brought on or the plan is changed.
For other small business safety information, check out the OSHA handbook here. Mastery has many fire safety training courses ranging from fire extinguisher response to prevention of industrial fires and chemical hazards.