Everywhere you work, there is always going to be a risk of a fire. From the use of mobile phones to microwaves, we are constantly surrounded by electronic devices, not to mention heavy machinery and flammable materials that are being worked with in other industrial environments.
In this content piece, we will look at the type of fire hazards that could exist in a workplace, and keep an eye out for them to prevent a fire emergency.
Leaving Flammable Materials Near Ignition Sources, or Anywhere, Is a Fire Hazard
Flammable material is present in all workplaces, from petroleum gas to electronic devices. Cardboard boxes, paper, and cloth-like materials are easily flammable and are often stacked together. Putting them in a confined space close together is a serious fire risk, as they provide a significant source of fuel for a spreading fire if one ignites. Even if not placed near ignition sources, any flammable materials should be kept in proper storage compartments, and otherwise away from any other sources of ignition.
Look Out for Flammable Liquids and Vapors as Well
Flammable material spreads, but liquids and vapours can spread in an instant or ignite into an explosion, even with a single spark. If you do have to work with flammable liquids and vapours, provide fume hoods to workers and ensure they are secure, dry storage for these flammable materials.
Any spills should also be treated and cleaned as soon as possible. Leaving these liquids as is, even if they dry up, is a dangerous fire hazard and could lead to flames—or as mentioned, even an explosion. A fire warden should ensure that no activity is performed near a spill until the contaminants are cleaned.
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Poor Ventilation and Dust Build-up Is a Contributors to Fire Hazards
General cleanliness and hygiene should not be discounted when it comes to fire safety. Any blockage in ventilation caused by debris and dust build-up can lead to fires and explosions. This is because the lack of ventilation can trap heat and the built-up dust can explode if it is exposed to sources of ignition.
Dust also sticks with grease and other flammable material, so it is considered a best practice to dust all areas regularly. A fire warden should ensure that ventilation shafts and other less visible areas are maintained as often as possible.
If an Outlet is Being Overused, it can Potentially Overheat
Electricity creates heat, and the more electric sources there are in one place, the more heat is created. The number of devices we use is increasing, and it is necessary to charge them more conservatively to avoid unnecessary use. An extension cord with six or seven outlets should not be connected to more than two or three devices at a time, even if it can handle it. Overusing a cord or outlet can create a fire hazard, as heat build-up can potentially lead to a fire.
Defective wires and outlets can also be a problem, and devices that are connected should be turned off, and the plugs should be removed when not in use. If certain devices are connected at all times, the outlets should be regularly inspected and cleaned as well.
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Keep an Eye on Neglect!
It sounds contradictory to look out for negligence, but it remains a considerable factor for fire hazards, as almost any fire hazard is a product of negligence in the first place. In this case, however, neglect is where workers can leave food unattended after their break, or a stove left on that is unchecked, which can lead to huge losses in lives and property due to a fire. Fire wardens should remind employees that everyone is responsible for looking out for the negligence of others. Smoking outside of designated smoking areas should also be counted negligence as well. Smoking in stairwells and other areas should also be reminded against by fire wardens.
Fire Wardens and Their Role
A fire warden is responsible for keeping an eye on workplace activities and watching out for fire hazards. However, as noted above, fire wardens rely on everyone else to follow proper safety procedures.
Organizations need to have fire wardens performing constant checks and inspections to stay on top of potential hazards and keep fire safety protocols in check. A workplace can also provide fire warden training online to other staff to give them the rundown, so they know what to do in a fire emergency as well as look out for potential fire hazards.
As employees and other people are always focused on their duties, it can be easy to ignore certain fire hazards at work, even if they are blatantly obvious. Here we have presented how fire wardens and fire warden training help keep these hazards in check by specifically looking out for them, and ensuring that everyone takes responsibility for upholding safety.