On average, fire kills eight people each week in Canada, according to Fire Prevention Canada. This year, National Fire Prevention Week runs from October 5 – 11th, so now is the time to evaluate your fire response procedures and preparedness in order to ensure a healthy and safe workplace.
Start with a comprehensive assessment, which should include a physical walk-through of the entire facility. Rank hazards as you go, based on severity (high, medium or low), so you have clear priorities as you continue to evaluate and adjust your fire safety plan. Use this list as a guideline, but remember many hazards could exist outside these areas:
- Storage and waste facilities
- Fire proofing
- Fire doors, fire walls and separators
- Fire/heat/smoke detectors & alarms
- Sprinkler systems
- Control of flammables & explosives (including dust)
- Spill control
- Emergency exit & fire escape access
- Smoking policies
- Electrical equipment
Create a master inventory of hazardous materials, along with a corresponding floor plan and checklist which will help you determine the need to improve, implement, or purchase:
- fire prevention and control procedures
- an emergency plan
- proper signage, detectors, extinguishers & other supplies
Also take time to evaluate employee training (including orientation and retraining) in the areas of: preventative measures, inspection techniques, fire extinguisher use, hazard reporting, spill control processes, and emergency procedures.
Be sure and carry out re-assessments whenever your workplace or industry experiences a change in process/activity, personnel, facility renovation, legislation, or materials used. Staying on top of fire prevention and encouraging your workers to do the same will ensure health, safety, and compliance all around. Visit Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) for more fire prevention information, downloads, and training opportunities.
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