In this country, children are taught fire safety basics at a young age. However, as we grow into adulthood and enter the workforce, there is less focus on fire safety. This disconnect is concerning because workplace fires can cause serious burn injuries, or even death. Workplace accidents and injuries caused by fires are also much more common than you might realize.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that over a five-year period, fire departments across the country respond to an estimated 3,340 fires in non-residential structures every year, mostly in business offices. From combustible materials and electric sparks to malfunctioning equipment and arson, workplace fires have many different causes. The key to good fire safety is not only reducing the potential for fire, but also teaching employees on what to do if a fire happens.
Creating a Workplace Fire Safety Program
Companies that manufacture, process, or manage certain materials follow standards implemented by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to prevent fires. These standards regulate:
- The storage, cleanup, and handling of flammable chemicals, materials, and waste
- Procedures for controlling workplace burning, smoking, and welding operations
- Proper cleaning and maintenance of burners, boilers, and other heat-producing equipment
Every employee must be trained on practices and standards that apply to their job. Safety guidelines should be updated as the nature of the job changes over time. The next important component of workplace fire safety is a well-planned fire evacuation plan. A thorough evacuation plan:
- Establishes specific routes and procedures that employees must follow in a fire or other emergency
- Includes a system that accounts for all employees
- Includes procedures for evacuating disabled workers
- Considers workers who stay behind to disable crucial equipment
- Provides a system for notifying employees in the event of a fire, including audible alarms
- Ensures every new employee is aware of the evacuation plan as part of the onboarding process
A good fire safety program is reinforced through regular fire drills. They are not required by OSHA, but they are strongly recommended to keep employees prepared for unexpected emergencies. Fire drills are invaluable because they give workers a safe, controlled setting to practice evacuations and give employers a chance to evaluate the effectiveness of an escape plan. If a worker is injured in a fire caused by negligence, the injured employee may be able to file a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Represent Employees Injured in Fire-Related Accidents
A good fire safety program protects employers and workers. Yet, even with a proactive approach that reduces fire hazards, accidents can still happen. Our Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC help those who have been injured at work. Call us at 302-888-1221 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we represent clients throughout the state, including Dover, Newark, and Middletown.