Todd Jerome Jenkins, MS, CSP, SMS, CHST, STSC

Safety Aficionado & Ph.D. Student

Weekly Safety Topic – Fire Safety

Fire safety rules are so commonplace that we often become indifferent to them. Human carelessness is responsible for too many fires and accidents on-the-job. Let’s take a look at some leading causes of workplace fires.

  1. electrical failures
  2. misuse of electrical equipment
  3. friction
  4. foreign substances
  5. open flames

What can we do to combat these hazards? We can comply with regulations like throwing oily rags in proper receptacles and only using properly vented metal fuel cans. Watch for frayed electrical cords and overloaded circuits. Dispose of flammable wastes and scrap by placing them in metal containers. Another essential point to remember is to store combustibles in a safe area. Combustible materials and fumes from paint, solvents and other flammables are responsible for many fires at home and work. Fumes can reach a considerable distance and become ignited by electrical equipment or even a pilot light.

This Photo by an Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA-NC.

If you ever need to dispose of flammable liquids, do not pour them down the drain. A proper method of disposal should be provided. If you should have to burn wastepaper, make sure it does not contain explosive materials, such as aerosol cans or paint cans. We should all be familiar with the location and operation of firefighting equipment. Know where fire extinguishers are located and what types of fires they will use.

Proper maintenance procedures are also crucial to fire safety. If you use electrical equipment or tools, inspect them regularly to ensure they are working correctly. Keep mechanical equipment adequately lubricated to avoid excessive friction. Keep spark arrestors on exhausts. You may feel like these things aren’t your job or that some of these things don’t concern you directly. That’s not true. It’s everyone’s responsibility to watch out for safety hazards, eliminate them if you can, or report them to supervisors if you can’t fix them.


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