Throughout the country, factory employees are injured and even killed every year in fires and explosions. Needless fire damage to buildings, causing billions of pounds worth of destruction, accompanies this tragic fact. You can easily take some life-saving steps to keep your workforce and business safe.
There is no such thing as a 100% fireproof building. There are far too many aspects involved – people, materials, areas, emergency response programs, wiring, machinery, chemicals, training, alarm systems, and more – to make such a claim. However, there are certain ways you can reduce the chance of a serious fire.
Taking steps to prevent and protect
By making sure that a minor mishap (for example, a small fire starting in a paper bin) remains minor, and does not escalate into a full scale disaster, you can ensure that you contain the situation – in other words, protection. To stop the small paper bin fire from occurring in the first place is prevention.
Sometimes the menial, everyday tasks that seem like second nature to employees can become so familiar that they may end up becoming careless or disrespectful of the processes at hand. To avoid this, it is up to you, as the employer, to provide some kind of prevention strategy, for example, by encouraging healthy work habits, pristine housekeeping, regular inspection of the work environment, and consistent and up-to-date staff training. Preventing inadequate work practices will prevent catastrophic outcomes.
Protection is important throughout your factory. This includes fixed protection, like alarm systems, sprinklers, and duct layouts, to the more temporary challenges of storage for hazardous chemicals, blocked fire exits and potential ignition sources during the working day.
The transport of industrial chemicals or powders should be done through rigid metal piping, where possible. Dust clouds can be flammable, so employers must provide adequate training in the handling and processing of such materials, as well as ensuring the correct ducts and piping materials are installed (e.g. a galvanised steel spiral duct). For more information, visit the Dustspares site.
Building fire safety
Your emergency response team must know about the factory itself and its potential hazards. This will include structural materials and whether they are fire-resistant, fire suppression systems, emergency markings and signage, local water supplies for sprinkler systems and preventative fire walls and doors.