Workplace fire safety is something business owners should focus on year-round. Even with advances in fire prevention technology, workplace blazes and explosions account for 3% of workplace injuries every year. They kill more than 200 workers and injure more than 5,000, costing companies billions of dollars.
Why is workplace fire safety so important, and what can you do to ensure that your employees and customers are safe if a fire or explosion does occur in your facility.
Why is workplace fire safety important?
Fires are inherently dangerous and can spread quickly, making them difficult to contain and escape. Without workplace fire safety, employees and customers can become trapped, leading to injuries or fatalities. An unchecked fire can also cause hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in property damage.
How can you increase your company’s focus on in-house fire safety?
Prevention is better than cure
According to the adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — and that goes double for fire safety prevention. Preventing fires in your workplace is the best thing you can do to keep your employees and customers safe. In the United States alone, structure fires occur every 63 seconds. While this number doesn’t differentiate between commercial and residential properties, FEMA estimates that 40-60% of small businesses that suffer a fire never re-open.
Schedule regular fire inspections and ensure that your facility is kept to the highest standard. You should be doing everything you can to prevent fires so you don’t have to worry about picking up the pieces if one occurs.
Keep an evacuation plan in place
While prevention is the best medicine for workplace fires, you should always be prepared for one if it does occur, and that means setting up and maintaining a comprehensive evacuation plan.
Start by imagining any scenarios that might occur in your facility. Keep all your variables in mind, from how many people are in your facility at any given time, to the kinds of potentially volatile materials that you keep on hand that could make a building fire even more difficult to escape or put out.
Next, define your roles and figure out who will be responsible for each. Once the roles are assigned, create clear maps that show the best evacuation routes out of your building. If your facility rests in an area that’s prone to wildfires, you may also need to list evacuation routes out of the area.
Comprehensive evacuation plans can help keep people safe and move the out of the danger zone in an orderly fashion when otherwise they might panic.
Conduct routine drills
Once you have an evacuation plan in place, it’s important to practice that plan to ensure that everyone understands their role and how they’re expected to behave during an emergency. With that in mind, make sure to conduct routine fire drills so that everyone on staff knows where to go and what to do. Practice these with customers in the store, so they’ll know how to direct them to safety.
If you’re having a fire drill during operating hours, we do recommend announcing it to the customers so they are aware that there isn’t an actual fire. You’re just doing your due diligence to ensure that your building is safe for them to shop in.
Always be prepared
While you might not always be able to prevent a fire — especially those caused by lightning strikes or other natural disasters, — you can and should do everything in your power to be prepared if one does occur. Workplace fire safety should be your priority, regardless of the type of business you run.
DISCLAIMER: This article was written by a third party contributor and does not reflect the opinion of Born2Invest, its management, staff or its associates. Please review our disclaimer for more information.
This article may include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “become,” “plan,” “will,” and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks as well as uncertainties, including those discussed in the following cautionary statements and elsewhere in this article and on this site. Although the Company may believe that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, the actual results that the Company may achieve may differ materially from any forward-looking statements, which reflect the opinions of the management of the Company only as of the date hereof. Additionally, please make sure to read these important disclosures.
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