Tom Barnowski shares the fire safety measures businesses should know
If you own a business, regardless of how small or large, you are legally obligated to understand and follow fire safety laws. Here are few things every business should be doing to keep employees and property safe in the event of a fire.
- Building Fire Exits - OSHA requires that all workplace buildings have at least two fire exits that are not located in close proximity to each other that can be used in a fire emergency. Exits can be windows, doors large enough for a person to crawl through and access the outdoors. Click here to learn more about OSHA's exit requirements.
- Portable Fire Extinguishers - All businesses are required to have the proper fire extinguishers installed based on the types of fire hazard present at your organization. Click here to view OSHA's guide to fire extinguishers. Once installed, extinguishers must be kept in good working order and employees should be trained on how to use them. Each year we have companies who conduct on-site fire extinguisher training so their employees are prepared should a fire break out.
- Emergency Action Plan (EAP) - All employers should have a written emergency action plan that is shared with all employees and reviewed on a regular basis. EAPs are required by OSHA to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. Because they are required, OSHA provides minimum requirements that all plans must meet. A disorganized plan will cause additional chaos. In addition to drafting the EAP it is imperative that you practice. Practicing the drill will familiarize staff with the procedures, evaluate the effectiveness of the plan and identify any areas that need to be modified and any additional training required for it to be effective.
October 8-14 has been designated Fire Prevention Week. Please take a moment during this time to check and review the information presented above at your facility. If you need assistance with any of the topics or would like to conduct on-site fire extinguisher training (training is typically completed within one hour), please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Having a clear plan, shared with employees, practiced and prepared for will make a huge difference. Plan today to save tomorrow.
Tom Barnowski is the Director, Corporate & Public Safety for Northampton Community College