It’s Fire Prevention Awareness Week. Do you know how to prevent a fire in your establishment?
According to OSHA, more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job each year, and fires are a leading cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. Auto repair facilities are particularly vulnerable to fires due to a variety of hazards including paint, thinner, gasoline and other flammable liquids, volatile chemicals, punctured gas cylinders, and faulty electrical equipment. What better time to remember how to stay safe than with these fire prevention tips for Fire Prevention Week?
Fire safety is everyone’s business. Managers must know the fire prevention codes and make sure the workplace is safe. Employees should be trained to identify fire hazards and know what to do in the event of a fire. Here are eight fire prevention tips from GMG EnviroSafe to help you prevent fires in your auto repair shop.
- Keep the fire extinguishers functional. Fire extinguishers must be installed and maintained in all industrial or commercial buildings as required in NFPA 10 code. They should be accessible throughout the installation, and in particular outside of a flammable liquid storage room, hot work area, and spray booth or mixing room. According to Code 10, extinguishers must be serviced annually and must have a tag or tag securely affixed that indicates when the service was performed and who and who performed it. . All employees must be trained in their use.
- Train employees. In addition to training all employees in the proper use of fire extinguishers, workers should also be able to identify potential hazards and know how to mitigate them. Employees who will work in positions where they are more likely to be exposed to hazards, such as employees who spray paint and weld, must be properly certified.
- Keep the workplace clean. You never know when a spark may explode, especially during cutting or welding work, so always keep the installation away from combustible hazards. These steps include daily trash and waste disposal, immediate clean-up of oil spills, and disposal of all oily rags in metal storage containers with self-closing lids.
- Store smart. Flammable and combustible liquids, including paints, thinners, and adhesives, should be stored separately from other types of chemicals, such as those that are corrosive or highly reactive. They should also be stored in approved flammable liquid storage cabinets and away from heating sources such as furnaces and water heaters. Equipment that must be stored with care includes oxygen and fuel tanks. These should be stored separately, away from heat and sunlight, and in a dry, well-ventilated place. Gas cylinders should be stored away from heavy traffic areas and should be chained securely to prevent damage.
- Use electrical equipment correctly. Make sure all power tools and equipment are properly grounded before using them, and immediately stop using any damaged power equipment. Inspect and maintain battery charging equipment regularly (and keep combustibles away from it). Avoid the use of common and inadequate household surge protectors and extension cords.
- Spray paint with caution. Spray painting is a common fire hazard, so employees should always spray paint in an approved spray booth equipped with automatic fire extinguishing equipment. Make sure the cabin is well ventilated and regularly change exhaust filters, ducts and interior walls.
- Avoid excess heat. Do not use heaters, portable lights, or any other flame source where spray painting or welding is performed, or near oil or gas cylinders. Use explosion-proof electrical devices and switches designed for use in environments with flammable vapors. Follow all “No smoking” rules.
- Develop and implement a fire prevention program. OSHA Regulation 1910 subpart E states that employers with more than 10 employees must have a written emergency action plan and a written fire prevention plan (employers with 10 or fewer employees must always have these emergency plans, but they do not no need to be written). These plans should include clear instructions regarding management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and correcting hazards. Regular workplace inspections are also important tools for identifying and correcting hazards, which is why your fire prevention plans should include weekly self-inspections, daily housekeeping and cleaning tasks, as well as than regular preventive maintenance of HVAC and fire protection systems.
By following all of these fire prevention tips, you will be taking a big step towards the safety of your employees and your facility. GMG EnviroSafe provides a number of tools and services to help protect yourself, including a occupational risk assessment as well as classroom training that includes fire prevention tips, information on proper PPE and more. To contact GMG EnviroSafe for a personal assessment of your establishment, click on here.
To learn more about Fire Prevention Week, click on here.