There is always a potential for fire in a warehouse which cannot be underestimated. In a busy environment and open spaces where hazardous materials or heavy machinery are used, safety measures are the key. Fire can be disastrous to the business. If machinery or equipment is not maintained in a good working condition, it can be a fire hazard. Warehouse managers and employees should be careful about fire safety to protect themselves from fire. Manufacturers should be sure that the warehouse is well prepared for a fire incident. Warehouse and manufacturers can take several steps to ensure that the warehouse is well prepared for a potential fire.
Some important safety tips are given below
- Evacuation plan
The first priority is to make sure that employees have a safe exit pathway in case if a fire occurs. Panicked reactions occur as a result of fear and stress caused by fire. This can be avoided by making a proper evacuation plan and educating the employees. Employees should be directed to exits in a controlled fashion. The employees should also periodically practice fire drills and review this plan. The evacuation plan includes important contacts, diagrams, procedure details, and emergency exit routes. This prepares employees to respond appropriately in case of a fire accident.
- Fire protection system
The first necessity to prevent fire in a warehouse is the availability of commercial fire protection equipment. It is important to stop the spread of fire either with the help of a handheld extinguisher or a complex suppression system. In the period when the fire starts and when the emergency team arrives, the fire protection system plays an important role. This prevents the fire from spreading and ensures the safe exit of employees from the building. The decision while arranging a fire protection system should be based on a proper knowledge of fire protection systems, knowing which will protect the people most.
- Fire safety workshops
There should be proper fire safety training workshops several times a year. This is very essential for the fire safety of a warehouse. The training should include an explanation of the evacuation plan, location of fire extinguishers, working of fire equipment, identification of safe routes and all exit passages, information about stopping the fire from the spread. Fire extinguisher training is very important and staff should be trained about the usage of all types of fire extinguishers. These workshops will best prepare the workers to be calm and responsive in a fire emergency. In this way, these workshops play a key role in the prevention of potentially avoidable accidents.
- Risk identification
Potential risks should be assessed at regular intervals. This makes sure that the safety measures are up-to-date and changes can be done if required according to the available resources. This helps to make appropriate policies about the safety of the workplace and employees.
- Maintain Machinery
The machinery should be kept in good working condition as it eliminates the concern of sparks, overheating, and short circuits. Employees should not be allowed to do electrical equipment repair if they are not qualified for this. Equipment should be regularly inspected for any damage or fault and should be reported to authorities immediately.
- Keep workplace clean
If a workplace is full of garbage, paper or some other stuff then these materials will likely be a source of spreading fire if they catch fire. This can occur easily if these materials are easily combustible or vulnerable to fire. Combustible materials should be properly disposed of to decrease the fuel for a fire. A workplace should be kept well and clean. Welding areas need more attention as they are a source of flames. Several recycle bins should be placed to ensure proper waste disposal. Storage area edges should be marked with bright colored tape. There should be wardens for each separate area. There should be a safe lockable area to store hazardous materials and they should be recorded. A fire extinguisher should be kept close to this area.
- Protective clothing
One of the most important factors for fire safety is to wear protective clothing. This is usually overlooked but it should be made compulsory for the workers that work in a workstation that generates sparks. Some employees do not wear protective clothing because they are confident that they have previously done several jobs so they cannot meet with such an accident. Unfortunately, this is not the case every time, a spark can burn uncovered skin and clothing. Therefore, it is important to apply strict rules and to ensure that employees follow them. Protective clothing should be made compulsory.
- OSHA fire codes
OSHA codes protect the warehouse from fire incidents. The OSHA guidelines are very important to improve workplace safety. Warehouse managers should stick to the government fire safety laws. Following these guidelines prevent such incidents and the facility does not have to pay a noncompliance fine.
- Fire safety specialist
A fire safety specialist is a key source to guide the managers about fire safety, what can be done to improve the level of safety in a warehouse. A fire safety specialist can be of great help in indicating flaws or shortcomings in the fire safety plan which can be overlooked by workers. Fire safety specialist ensures safety plans, staff training and fire protection system working. Working with a specialist increases your confidence in the safety plans.
- Smoking should be prohibited
Smoking should be strictly prohibited within the workplace especially in the storage areas. In storage areas, chemicals or combustible materials can be present which can easily get fire. If a workplace has a high risk of getting fire or spark, smoking can result in disastrous effects.
- Maintain Electrical Control Panels and Fire Alarm Equipment
The access to electrical panels should be free of furniture, garbage, or tools and should be clear. Otherwise, it will take time to shut the electrical systems in case of an emergency resulting in danger. A fire alarm system should be kept in good working condition and checked regularly. As many fire incidents happen because of defective fire alarm systems. Smoke alarms and fire alarms should be tested each month to ensure their working.