Businesses need to have a fire safety plan in place, and employees should be aware of the steps they need to take to protect themselves and their coworkers in the event of a fire. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the basics of fire safety, including identifying a potential fire hazard and what to do if you encounter one. We’ll also provide tips on how to stay safe during a fire drill.
What is Fire Safety in the Workplace?
Many potential fire hazards can exist in any work environment, and workers must be aware of these risks and how to prevent them. Some common fire hazards in the workplace include:
- electrical equipment
- flammable liquids
- combustible materials
Employees should be trained in identifying these hazards and what to do if they occur. Fire safety in the workplace is an essential part of keeping employees safe.
Common Workplace Fire Hazards
By familiarising yourself with the potential hazards in addition to knowing what to do in case of a fire, you can help ensure that your workplace is safe for everyone. In the workplace, there are several potential fire hazards, such as
Flammable liquids and gases
These can easily catch fire and spread quickly, posing a severe threat to life and property.
This can be a source of ignition if it is not properly maintained or used correctly.
Cluttered areas and accumulation of dust and waste can easily catch fire and spread quickly.
This is a significant cause of workplace fires and should be strictly prohibited in all workplaces.
Any work that involves open flames or sparks has the potential to start a fire.
By identifying these potential fire hazards in the workplace, steps can be taken to mitigate the risks and protect employees, customers, and property.
Leading Cause of Workplace Fires in Australia
The most common cause of fire in the workplace in Australia, including Adelaide, is unattended equipment. This involves things like electrical equipment, heating appliances, and cooking appliances. Each year, misuse of tools or equipment at work causes hundreds of fires around Australia. Other causes are:
- faulty wiring
Installing the proper fire safety equipment close by is a crucial precaution in case of a misused device accident.
How Can You Raise Fire Safety Awareness in the Workplace?
In Australia, some laws and regulations promote fire safety in the workplace. These are as follows:
The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 requires employers to ensure the health and safety of employees to the extent that it is reasonably practicable. This includes taking reasonable steps to prevent or minimise the risk of a fire occurring in the workplace.
The Building Code of Australia sets out minimum standards for the construction and design of buildings, including requirements for fire safety.
The Australian Standard for the Installation and Use of Fire Protection Equipment (AS/NZS 2299) guides the setup and operation of fire prevention tools like sprinklers and fire alarms.
Awareness Programs Instituted in Australia
Many programs have been instituted in the workplace to promote fire safety. One such program is the National Fire Safety Campaign, launched in 2002. This campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of fire safety in the workplace and encourages businesses to implement fire safety measures.
Another program is the Workplace Fire Safety Program which was introduced in 2004. This program provides businesses with information and resources to help implement effective fire safety measures in the workplace.
Businesses are also encouraged to develop fire safety programs and initiatives tailored to their individual needs and circumstances. By doing this, companies can ensure they take all the necessary steps to protect their employees and premises from fire.
Roles of the Business Owner in Fire Prevention
The employer must promote fire safety in the workplace and take reasonable precautions to prevent fires from occurring.
The employer should consult with employees on measures to prevent fires and promote fire safety in the workplace.
Employers should consult the laws and regulations when developing workplace fire safety policies and procedures.
The employer should also provide employees with information on what to do during a fire.
First Aid for Burns in the Workplace
In the event of a fire and there are burn patients, the emergency procedures to be done in the workplace are as follows:
- Remove the patient from the source of the heat.
- Cool the burned area with cool water for at least 5 minutes. Do not use ice, as it can cause further tissue damage.
- Cover the burned area with a sterile dressing or clean cloth.
- Elevate the burned area above heart level, if possible.
- Call triple zero (000) immediately and transport the patient to the nearest hospital or burn centre.
Business owners would have to designate a number of their staff to undergo training and complete an Adelaide first aid course as part of workplace safety requirements.
Ways to Prevent Fire in the Workplace
Fires in the workplace can have devastating consequences. They can destroy property, cause injuries, and even result in death. That is why it is so important to take steps to prevent them from happening in the first place.
One of the best ways to prevent fires in the workplace is to have a comprehensive fire safety plan in place. This should include designated fire exits, fire alarm systems, and regular fire drills. Installing the proper fire safety equipment in strategic places is a must. All employees should be aware of the plan and know what to do in the event of a fire.
Maintaining all electrical equipment properly and performing routine inspections is another way to avoid workplace fires.
Heating appliances should also be used safely and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Smoking should only be permitted in designated areas, and all cigarette butts should be properly extinguished.
All staff members should be hired, trained, and made aware of the risks associated with intentionally abusing any gadgets or equipment they may come into contact with or use in line with their work.
Everyone at work must be aware of how to evacuate the building in the event of a fire safely. A designated evacuation route should be clearly marked and easy to follow. Employees should also be familiar with all fire exits and extinguishers’ locations. If a fire does break out, it is essential to stay calm and follow evacuation procedures.
In conclusion, promoting fire safety awareness is vital for any business establishment to ensure its workers and customers are safe on the work premises. The rules and guidelines must be implemented to prevent unwanted fires.
In addition, qualified first aid staff should be present during operation hours. If you want to enrol yourself or your staff for these qualifications, CPR First Aid (RTO 21903) offers nationally accredited CPR and first aid courses at Level 1/174 Gilles St, Adelaide 5000, or any location near you.