When it comes to fire prevention for work, every business must make concerted efforts to create a safe working environment for all employees.
One resource that is pivotal for in-house teaching and fire training is a Fire Prevention Plan. But what exactly is an FPP and how can businesses develop one?
What is a Fire Prevention Plan?
A Fire Prevention Plan is a strategic resource document that includes information about identified potential fire hazards and ignition sources; as well as defining protocol and procedures to handle flammable substances; and lists the responsible staff members.
Every FPP is uniquely tailored and customized to reflect the individual business’ fire safety requirements. That’s why we can only provide you with an editable template/guide that you will need to customize accordingly.
What Businesses Need a Fire Prevention Plan?
Do all businesses need a Fire Prevention Plan? While FPPs are not compulsory for all types of business they are still good fire prevention for work practice to adopt.
The enterprises that absolutely require an FPP according to OSHA standards are those in the following industries:
· General industry
Now, what exactly must you include in your FPP when creating it? Let’s find out.
What Information Is Contained in a Fire Prevention Plan?
There are technically four major points that must come out in your FPP. These are:
· The business’ potential fire hazards
· The business’ potential ignition sources
· The business’ procedures for handling combustible substances
· The business’ appointed fire safety wardens
1. Potential Fire Hazards
What are the fire hazards in your particular business? These will differ based on what type of work your business does. The fire hazards in a manufacturing enterprise will be vastly different from those in a daycare center for example.
However, there are some common fire hazards within workplaces and these include:
· Human error and negligence (probably the biggest cause of workplace fire incidents)
· Flammable/combustible liquids and gases (e.g. gasoline, acetone, alcohols, paints)
· Machinery that creates heat (e.g. burners, boilers, ovens, fryers, stoves, heat exchangers)
· Faulty electrical equipment (e.g. old computers, printers, tripped circuit breakers)
· Overloading of power sockets
· Smoking and improper disposal of lit cigarettes
After you have identified potential fire hazards, it’s time to consider the ignition sources. After all, for a fire to break out several things are needed: fuel (the fire hazard), heat (an ignition source) and oxygen (readily available in the air).
So, this leads us to the next point in the FPP and that’s the need to identify potential ignition sources.
2. Potential Ignition Sources
What are the possible ignition sources in your workplace?
Safeopedia.com defines an ignition source as the element that “causes the fuel to ignite.”
Therefore, you’re looking here for anything that creates heat. So think of electrical equipment and machinery where sparks can fly; naked flames, surfaces that produce friction, hot surfaces, and high impact surfaces.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of likely ignition sources:
· Damaged electrical cables
· Overloaded power sockets
· Naked flames (candles, stovetop burners)
It’s worth noting that the two most common ignition sources are always combustible liquids and electricity. And with that let’s turn our attention to the necessary protocols for handling these flammable substances.
3. Procedures for Handling Combustible Substances
Flammable liquids are often very volatile. This means they easily evaporate at regular temperatures making them inherently explosive in nature.
As such, there must be clearly defined protocols and procedures on how to manage these flammable substances. The following are some of the recommended guidelines to follow when dealing with these chemicals:
· Store flammable liquids in metal containers, safety cans, or approved plastic receptacles.
· Fume hoods must always be used when working with open vessels in order to redirect flammable vapour build-up
· Only spark-free equipment and machinery must be used near combustible substances. Equipment whose induction and air motors satisfy the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, Ontario Regulation 777/21. Note: Machinery that does NOT meet these code requirements include ovens, hot plates and heat guns
· Flammable materials must never be stored near open flames.
· Rooms that house combustible chemicals must be properly ventilated and vapours minimized by flashback.
4. Chosen Fire Safety Wardens
There must be a team of staff designated to conduct fire training and teach fire safety protocols to other employees. This group is sometimes referred to as the fire safety wardens of the business.
These fire safety wardens play an important role in ensuring that good fire safety measures are followed on a daily basis. In addition, they make sure that new employees are brought up to speed regarding fire safety practices at this business.
Their duties may also extend to monitoring and checking heat-producing equipment to verify that safeguards are working as they should and fire hazards especially combustible liquids are stored and handled correctly.
Fire Prevention Plan: Noteworthy Mention
A company Fire Prevention Plan must be available in writing for any employee to read and familiarize themself with the business’ fire safety precautions.
An FPP must be discussed with employees and this can be more easily accomplished in smaller organizations. For larger enterprises more creative ways to disseminate information are required.
Fire Prevention Plans increase workplace fire safety awareness and help to foster a safer working environment for all.
If you’d like further help to develop your FPP, our fire specialists here at Profire Safety Services can assist you.
We can also design custom fire safety plans, conduct on-site routine testing, fire training, gas detection, inspections, and maintenance of fire protection systems such as sprinklers, fire extinguishers, fire alarms, emergency lighting, emergency backup generators, and exit lighting. In addition, we make recommendations for fire protection solutions if you’re looking to upgrade your current systems.
Request a free quote today.