Workplace safety isn’t just a chore — it’s a day-to-day necessity to ensure the safety of both employees and customers. Laws are constantly fluctuating and being updated to reduce the risk of common workplace accidents and maintain the general health and wellness of the American population. Likewise, a lack of oversight can cause severe long-term consequences that cost thousands of dollars and put livelihoods at risk. One of the most frequent issues facing many industries today is the risk of fire, which can be started with as little as a spark and cause unprecedented damages and injuries. From buying a fire extinguisher recharge to calling a fire extinguisher service, there is a lot you can do to mediate this danger and stay safe.
How Are Fires Started?
A fire can be caused by a variety of different factors, including but not limited to electrical failures, improper ventilation, unattended coals, sparks, poorly disposed cigarette butts and extreme heat exposure. Some of the most common residential areas that see regular fires are restaurants, cafes, kitchens, motels, hotels and elderly homes. Because of this laws are regularly updating their rules to more properly reflect the nature of fire risk, from disallowing the act of smoking upon certain premises and requiring fire extinguisher recharges to be on hand.
Where Are Fires Often Started?
While a fire can erupt anywhere, there are certain areas they are most likely to appear due to the nature of work, weather or both. There are an estimated 8,000 commercial kitchen fires reported every year, with fires in restaurants and dining establishments causing a yearly average of $246 million in direct and indirect property damages. Around 60% of restaurant fires involve some form of cooking equipment, such as oil or pans, and greatly contribute to the increase in fire risk. In fact, studies have shown 9% of deep fryers, 7% of ranges and 5% of miscellaneous kitchen and cooking equipment to be the leading types of supplies involved in non-confined restaurant building fires.
What Are Safe Habits That Can Be Practiced?
Since a fire can be started through a variety of means, it only stands to reason they can be prevented with simple, everyday good habits. ‘No Smoking’ signs should be placed where both employees and customers can see to discourage irresponsible habits, right alongside regularly maintained ashtrays and garbage bins. Proper ventilation is a must for restaurants and cafes due to the constant smoke and steam that grows inside the building, as non-confined restaurant building fires generally begin in cooking areas and kitchens.
What Can Workers Do To Prevent Fires?
Since a staggering portion of fires begin in confined kitchen and cooking areas, there are many things workers can do to reduce the risk of fire. Removing ashes from wood and charcoal burning ovens at least once per day will eliminate much of excess smoke. Any leftovers should also be stored outside in metal containers at least 10 feet away from buildings and combustible materials. Of course, preventative measures are best combined with fire extinguisher services and proper fire extinguishing equipment.
What Fire Equipment Should I Have?
Fire protection extends to the proper equipment you own and how responsibly you use them. Commercial kitchens should have their automatic extinguishing systems and related items, such as fire extinguisher recharges, inspected and serviced every six months or so by a qualified contractor. They should be located no more than 30 feet from any standard cooking area for easy access — a study showed more than 2,000 fire incidents revealing that portable fire extinguishers extinguished 80% of all fires. Check your schedule and see how you can’t fit in fire extinguisher inspections into your day-to-day workweek.
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