Keeping an Eye Out for Fire Hazards
A workplace fire can be devastating. A fire can destroy property and equipment, but most importantly it can result serious injuries and fatalities. Every contractor needs to be on the lookout for fire hazards that could potentially cause a blaze. Here are a few tips related to identifying and mitigating common types of fire hazards.
Extension Cords and Power Strips:
- Only use cords and power strips that are in good working condition; damaged cords or cords with plugs that are missing ground pins should be replaced.
- Never connect or “daisy-chain” multiple power strips together, and remember that extensions cords are not a substitute for permanent wiring.
- Select extension cords that are appropriately rated for devices you will be plugging in.
- Tell your supervisor if you need additional outlets or other sources of electricity.
- Fire needs fuel, so keep your work area clean and walkways clear.
- To prevent spontaneous heating from oil soaked combustible materials, dispose of them properly in oily waste cans.
- Properly store or dispose of flammable and combustible materials every day — the best practice is to only have the amount needed for one day in your work area.
Equipment and Appliances:
- If it produces heat it can produce fire — know where heat-producing items are in your workplace.
- Maintain adequate space between heat-producing equipment/appliances and combustible or flammable materials.
- Turn off heat-producing equipment/appliances when not in use.
- Perform a visual inspection of your equipment every day, looking for broken parts, malfunctions, and/or damaged electrical connections.
- Perform regularly scheduled maintenance on your equipment as instructed.
- Make sure fellow employees are operating equipment correctly to help reduce risk.
- Ensure you have the correct type(s) of extinguishers.
- Familiarize yourself with the location of fire extinguishers on job sites and at your facility. Signs should be posted above extinguishers so they are easy to locate.
- Regularly check the date and pressure level on each fire extinguisher — they should be inspected annually. If it has been over a year, report it to your supervisor.
- Remember “P.A.S.S.”
- Pull the pin.
- Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire from six to ten feet away.
- Squeeze the handle.
- Sweep from side to side.
Fire prevention is a daily responsibility for every contractor. Trust your senses – if you sense something alarming, see something unusual or risky, or smell something burning be sure to report it right away. Fire prevention is a daily responsibility. Doing your part to help identify fire hazards can help protect you, your coworkers, and your company.
This article is for general information only and should not be considered legal or other expert advice. The recommendations herein may help reduce but are not guaranteed to eliminate any or all risk of loss. The information herein is not intended to cover or identify all risk exposures. The information herein may be subject to, and is not a substitute for, any laws or regulations that may apply. Qualified counsel should be sought with questions specific to your circumstances. © 2021 Federated Mutual Insurance Company.
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