Facilities are required to have fire prevention plans that provide employees with the appropriate information and guidelines for what to do in case a fire occurs. In cases where there are ten or less employees, the plan may be communicated orally. With any larger staff, the plan must be communicated in writing, kept in the workplace, and be made available to employees for review at any time. This requirement was established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) and is part of their standard on fire prevention. With the aid of a fire prevention plan, employees should be capable of properly recognizing, reporting, and controlling fire hazards, significantly helping to reduce the loss of life and property due to fire.
An Effective Fire Prevention Plan
In order for a plan to be effective, it must include a number of procedures and lists relevant to fire prevention. Below are some of the necessities when drafting your fire prevention plan:
- A list of all major hazards and potential ignition sources, along with the appropriate fire protection equipment necessary to control these hazards
- A list of employees responsible for controlling fuel source hazards and maintaining relevant equipment
- Procedures to control accumulations of combustible waste materials
- Procedures for regular maintenance of safeguards installed on heat-producing equipment
Implementing your Fire Prevention Plan
As an employer, you must inform all employees of potential fire hazards. Employees must review the relevant sections of the fire prevention plan for self-protection. You must also decide how best to meet OHSA requirements when a fire occurs. For instance, one option would be to require all employees to evacuate immediately once an alarm is sounded, which would mean providing the appropriate instruction, plan, and exit route. Another option would be to provide portable fire extinguishers to designated employees to use once an alarm is sounded while all others evacuate. This would require noting these designated employees in the emergency action plan and providing them with additional training and instruction.
Through the drafting and implementation of a proper fire prevention plan, employees will have access to reliable information that could save their lives or the lives of others. Fire prevention information should be regularly communicated through educational materials such as flyers and instruction sheets, along with regularly scheduled on-site training. Having a facility with well-prepared employees is the ultimate safeguard against fire loss.