Electricity is primal to the operation of any factory. Yet, with electricity comes a greater risk of fire hazards. As a result, it is not uncommon to have a fire outbreak on factory floors and construction sites, which is a horrible threat to life and properties.
Besides the catastrophic loss of life, fire occurrences ground a company, leading to a significant loss of revenue. However, it is possible to minimize the risk of fire in the workplace significantly. This comes down to adequate safety knowledge and fire prevention tips that will keep life and properties safe.
This article explores the top five tips to keep your workplace safe from an electrical fire.
- Fire Detection Systems
There are times fire could occur when no one is present or near. It could turn into a full-blown inferno if an effort to mitigate it does not show up on time. This is where a smoke detector, heat alarm, or flame sensor comes in to sound an alarm informing everyone of a potential source of the fire.
The reaction to mitigate the fire will be swift if people are alerted on time. Also, one of the safety procedures specified by OSHA is regular testing and maintenance of the fire detection system and fire extinguisher. The device needs to be protected from corrosion, dust, or other forms of damage that could hinder its optimum operation.
Besides the alarm system, employees should be vigilant enough to detect the smell of a burning wire or strange noise from various electrical devices like a switch, socket, NEMA 5-15r receptacles, etc.
- Good Knowledge of Your Electrical Distribution System
Every factory and commercial building has an electrical distribution system. The complexity and size, most of the time, is a factor of a company’s need and operations. An electrical distribution system comprises wires, fuses, circuits, and transformers that distribute power to various factory parts.
Energy can either be reduced or increased based on the needs of the company. However, when the distribution system has to supply too much power than it can handle, there could be an electrical fire. Circuit breakers, panels, and wires have limitations and an upper limit of the current they can withstand.
Excessive current triggers heat, which could cause a fire in extreme cases. As a result, it is essential to know the maximum capacity you can expect from your electrical distribution system and keep it within the limit. You can check services like Get the Best Electrical Services: Panel upgrades to avoid this from happening.
- Adequate Staff Training
When staff get the proper knowledge, it can go a long way to reduce fire hazards or prepare them to handle any accidental outbreak. The appropriate training can prevent careless mistakes that might become disastrous. For instance, knowledge of the correct maintenance schedule can prevent any machinery or electrical system from malfunctioning. Staff needs adequate training on flammable materials and how to handle them at work.
The proper procedure in handling a fire incidence is also essential. For instance, all staff should know how to use an extinguisher. The team should also know that walkways should be kept clear to allow easy egress should there be a fire emergency. The evacuation procedure and the muster point should not be strange to all staff.
- Correct Handling of all Flammable and Combustible Materials
Flammable materials usually come with vivid warnings imprinted on the package. However, neglect of such signs and mishandling of such material is a common factor responsible for workplace fire. Flammable materials should have a designated area for storage, far from sparks or any heat or ignition source.
When you consider the incredible risk posed by such hazardous materials to life and properties, the business needs to prioritize fire safety. Risk assessment should regularly explore the safety and vulnerability of any dangerous material.
Even when flammable materials are stored properly, the risk of fire should not be ignored. Such storage channels are usually at high risk, making it essential to examine such stores’ vulnerability regularly.
- Proper Care of Heat generating Machinery and Equipment
Heat is inevitable in any machinery, which poses a threat. It makes it essential to be aware of safety provisions to prevent such heat from getting out of hand. Circuit breakers that cut off power supply when current gets too much is an example of a provision to checkmate excessive heat and current buildup.
In a typical workplace, faulty electrical equipment is a safety hazard that sets the stage for a fire outbreak. Damaged plugs, loose cables, and others are a potential source of risk. It makes it essential always to have a routine examination of such electrical components to correct any abnormality. Every factory floor should have an expert charged with the duty of regular inspection of electrical equipment.
A circuit with excessive loads is a severe fire threat that can be easily prevented. Heavy machinery with massive demand for power should have a dedicated outlet. There could be overheating when a socket has too many loads, which might result in a fire. This can quickly get out of control with sockets or extension cable placed under the table with books and other flammable material around.
Ideally, be sure to unplug any equipment not in use, and never leave a socket on overnight.
Electrical fire is a risk in any workplace. Even though it might be impossible to eliminate fire hazards, one can reduce the risk of fire by observing simple safety tips. Prevention is always better than cure. Spending a little effort in maintaining safety can go a long way.