Workplace fire hazards that may be in plain sight
Fire hazards in the workplace may not be on everyone’s radar, especially when they are right in plain sight. Most people think about smoke detectors and even carbon monoxide detectors, but what about something as simple as dust?
According to A1 Fire Protection in Mississippi, excess dust is a top fire hazard in the workplace, especially for construction and machining workplaces where the accumulation of dust and powder from wood, plastic and metal manufacturing processes presents a substantial fire risk. Without proper ventilation, dust from those substances can become combustible.
Another often overlooked hazard is waste buildup. A1 Fire Protection warns that stockpiles of paper, cardboard, and other materials can act as a fuel source for fires if ignited by a spark from machinery or a wayward cigarette.
The Occupational Health and Safety website notes that fire departments across the nation respond to 13 calls from business and industry every hour.
In total, these fires cause more than $13 billion in property damage and kill more than 3,000 people each year. Preventing workplace fires involves identifying the specific hazards that are present in the facility, following local building and fire codes, and putting plans in place to minimize potential fire risks, according to OH&S.
Five plain-sight workplace fire hazards
Good housekeeping is tied to a myriad of safety efforts, and fire prevention is certainly among them. Dust, shavings, clutter, and waste that is permitted to accumulate in work areas does more than just look bad. It can increase the risk of fires and hide other serious safety hazards.
Improper Fire Extinguishers
Multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguishers (Class A, B, C) are the most common type of fire extinguisher used in workplaces. They won't work on all types of fires, though. For example, they aren't designed for fighting fires involving metals. In other areas, a carbon dioxide extinguisher may be advantageous. Review the fire hazards in the area to choose the best type for each situation.
Electrical distribution and lighting equipment issues are the leading cause of fires in industrial properties, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Electrical issues also frequently make OSHA's top ten list of violations.
Inadequate Sprinkler Clearance
Storage space is usually a precious commodity in facilities. It can be tempting to stack things just a little bit higher or to put things on a top shelf, just for the time being. This can impact sprinkler effectiveness.
Improperly Stored Chemicals
Few facilities operate without at least a handful of different hazardous chemicals on site. Knowing the properties of each chemical is the first step in keeping employees safe. It's also the first step in storing, handling, and using it correctly to avoid reactions and other unsafe conditions.
Should you sustain an injury on the job in Mississippi, it’s important that you speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
Contact Tabor Law Firm, P.A. today to start your claim.