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Take Safety Precautions to Avoid Fire Hazards at Work

Workers need to recognize potential fire hazards and take every safety precaution to avoid potentially deadly situations on their job sites. The best thing any employer can do is hold regular safety meetings.

Fire in Office Building, Exit Sign Visible

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in recent years, more than 200 workers die annually as a result of fires and explosions.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA.org) reports that during 2009-2013 an estimated 37,000 fires were reported to U.S. fire departments per year and these included: 26,300 outside or unclassified fires, 7,220 structure fires, and 3,440 vehicle fires. In addition, these fires caused $1 billion in property damage, 18+ deaths and 270+ injuries per year.

OSHA Construction Standard 1926.152(g)(8) says that there shall be no smoking or open flames in the areas used for fueling, servicing fuel systems for internal combustion engines, receiving or dispensing of flammable liquids. And OSHA Construction Standard 1926.152(g)(9) states conspicuous and legible signs prohibiting smoking shall be posted.
Examples of Fire Prevention Danger Signs
Fire Prevention Signs (mysafetysign.com)
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.106(b)(6) "Sources of ignition." In locations where flammable vapors may be present, precautions shall be taken to prevent ignition by eliminating or controlling sources of ignition. Sources of ignition may include open flames, lightning, smoking, cutting and welding, hot surfaces, frictional heat, sparks (static, electrical, and mechanical), spontaneous ignition, chemical and physical-chemical reactions, and radiant heat.

Incorporate the topic of fire prevention into your safety meeting schedule. Ensure that the following important issues are part of your fire prevention meeting.

  • Fire prevention is every workers' responsibility!
  • Be alert to your activities and avoid creating fire hazards.
  • Only smoke in designated areas.
OSHA Construction Standard 1926.150(a)(1) The employer shall be responsible for the development of a fire protection program to be followed throughout all phases of the construction and demolition work, and he shall provide for the firefighting equipment as specified in this subpart. As fire hazards occur, there shall be no delay in providing the necessary equipment.

More points to cover during any fire prevention safety meeting:

  • Ensure that all employees know where the fire extinguishers are located at the work site.
  • Employees should report any missing, damaged, or spent fire extinguishers immediately.
  • All team members should be familiar with the parts of a fire extinguisher and how to tell if it has been discharged.
  • No one should attempt to use a fire extinguisher unless they have been trained to do so! Setting up fire extinguisher training is a great idea for every employer.
  • Always use the correct containers for using, storing, or transporting fuel.
  • Report any fires or possible fires immediately!
Many fire extinguishers have a pressure gauge showing if it is charged or used.
Many fire extinguishers have a pressure gauge showing if it is charged or used.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.157(d)(1) Portable fire extinguishers shall be provided for employee use and selected and distributed based on the classes of anticipated workplace fires and on the size and degree of hazard which would affect their use.

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