How to Identify Fire Hazards in Your Workplace

fire safety check list

Fire is one of the biggest hazards in most workplaces and job sites. 

But because every workplace is different, you need to identify the specific hazards in your premises if you want to ensure fire safety for your staff and employees. 

To do this effectively, here’s what you should do: 

Identify possible sources of heat. 

Anything that could possibly produce fire or heat can be a fire hazard in a workplace. When identifying possible sources of heat, make sure you do it thoroughly and check everything in your workplace, not just the obvious ones. 

Some of the most common sources of heat that you should look out for include: 

  • Cooking equipment – stoves, microwaves, toasters, etc. 
  • Electrical wiring – especially loose or broken wiring/power outlets 
  • Heating equipment – heaters, heat lamps, boilers 
  • Electric appliances – refrigerators, televisions, etc. 
  • Hot surfaces – especially in your workplace has plenty of big machines and heavy equipment  
  • Rubbish and waste material – especially rubbish or waste not managed or disposed of properly 
  • Combustible materials – flammable liquids, solvents, petrol, fuel, etc. 
  • Computers and servers – including server rooms 

If it’s something that gives off heat or could catch fire when it gets hot enough, then it could be a fire hazard. 

Check your fire safety equipment. 

It’s important to remember that fire hazards don’t just come from things that can burn. Your fire risk also goes up dramatically if you don’t have the right fire safety equipment in place. 

Some of the essential fire safety equipment include: 

  • Fire extinguishers 
  • Fire blankets 
  • Smoke alarms 
  • Signage 
  • Fire hose reels 
  • And more! 

When checking your workplace fire safety equipment, remember to not only check if you have them, but also if you have enough of them. The larger your workplace is, the more fire safety equipment you’ll likely need. 

While you’re at it, don’t forget to also check the condition and expiry dates of your fire safety equipment – fire extinguishers, for example, can expire or wear out over time.  

Evaluate your employee’s fire safety knowledge and skills. 

In many cases, how well you can prevent workplace fires will only be as good as your employees’ fire safety knowledge and skills. 

If they don’t know what to do when a fire breaks out, or if they don’t practice proper fire safety measures, then your risk of a fire will undoubtedly increase. 

When identifying fire hazards in your workplace, make sure you also assess your employees’ fire safety skills and knowledge. Although most fire safety equipment are easy and simple to use, they do require a certain level of skill to use properly. 

If you find out that your team’s fire safety skills are lacking, then consider investing in fire safety training for your employees to ensure proper fire safety. 

Watch out for bad habits. 

Keeping your workplace safe from fires requires cooperation from everyone in your team. And this means ensuring that everyone follows proper fire safety measures and avoids habits or behaviours that increase your risk of fires. Some of the most common bad habits in the workplace that you need to watch out for and avoid include: 

  • Bad housekeeping – The dirtier and more cluttered your workplace is, the higher your risk of fires. 
  • Improper storage of flammable materials – Flammable or combustible materials need to be stored properly to avoid accidentally igniting them. 
  • Overloading power outlets – Overloaded power outlets can easily cause fires, especially if too many things are plugged in at the same time. 

Complete a Risk Assessment. 

Not all fire hazards are obvious to the untrained eye. If you want to identify all fire hazards in your workplace and evaluate your company’s ability to address them, then consider getting a complete risk assessment from qualified fire safety experts. This can help you ensure that you’ve covered everything in your workplace for fire safety while getting appropriate recommendations from specialists. A comprehensive fire safety audit can identify gaps in your fire safety measures and identify areas of improvement. 

Need help improving your fire safety in the workplace? 

If you need help ensuring proper fire safety in your workplace, don’t hesitate to contact us to get expert guidance and support. We help businesses of all types and sizes keep their workplaces safe and prevent fires as much as possible.  

5 Things Every Business Needs to Have to Ensure Workplace Safety

Workplace Safety

Ensuring workplace safety is more than just a requirement for many businesses in Australia. For many organisations, it’s also a key element to success.

A safe workplace is a happier and more productive workplace. After all, no one likes to work in any place that could harm their health and well-being.

Although the measures required for ensuring workplace safety will vary between businesses, there are many fundamental things that every business needs to have to keep their employees safe.

Here are five of them:

1. Safety program

A comprehensive safety program is one of the most important things any business must have to ensure workplace safety.

A well-designed safety program will provide details on the different procedures and equipment required to keep your employees safe on the job. It should include what to do in the event of emergencies (e.g. evacuation plans) and how to prevent accidents and minimise risks in the workplace.

Make sure to formalise and document your safety program in writing so that all your employees – current and future – can access it, understand it, and follow it.

Above all, make sure that you implement your safety program. No matter how good your safety program is, it will not keep your employees as safe if your organisation does not apply it.

2. Appropriate training

Training your staff for emergencies and situational risks will help keep your employees safer and create a more secure workplace.

Training provides the opportunity to test your safety program while arming them with the experience to know what to do when an emergency strikes. With appropriate training, your staff can respond to emergencies and workplace risks faster and more effectively. This can greatly reduce the risk of such events if it happens.

Aim to provide training that best applies to your organisation and workplace. This may include scheduling activities like fire extinguisher training and evacuation exercises to orient your staff with emergency procedures.

3. Fire safety equipment

Fires are among the biggest risks for many workplaces in Australia, so having the right fire safety equipment in the workplace is critical.

Essential fire safety equipment include:

  • Smoke and fire alarms
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fire blankets
  • Fire sprinkler systems
  • Fire hose reels

It’s important to determine exactly what fire safety equipment your organisation needs because each workplace’s requirements will vary.

4. First aid kit

A well-stocked first aid kit can help reduce the effects of an injury or illness in the workplace and provide relief until professional medical assistance arrives.

It’s also often the first line of treatment for minor injuries or ailments in the workplace, making it a requirement for many worksites in Australia.

When organising your site’s first aid kit, make sure you consider the nature of your work, the risks/hazards your employees are exposed to, and the size of your company and building.

5. Safety verifications

Verifying your safety program and procedures is one of the most effective ways to ensure workplace safety.

Third-party evaluation from qualified and accredited regulators will help you make sure that your safety program is suited for your staff’s safety and well-being. It will also identify areas that you may need to change, improve, or update to ensure workplace safety.

You can also train some of your employees to become accredited safety specialists who can evaluate your safety program and make sure it complies with industry regulations and guidelines.

Need more safety training and expert advice?

When it comes to workplace safety, there’s no such thing as being too safe. If your business needs expert advice and recommendations for fire safety and emergency training, don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help.

Servicing Popular Fire Safety Equipment in Homes or Small Businesses

Fire extinguishers may last for several years, but they don’t last forever. They also tend to become less effective over time. Like other fire safety equipment, fire extinguishers need to be replaced after a certain period of time, even if you’ve never used them. (Fire extinguisher manufacturers often recommend replacing them every 5-15 years, depending on the extinguisher.)  You’ll also need to check them regularly to make sure they’re still in good condition, with no signs of wear or damage.

For home extinguishers read the manufacturer’s directions on the extinguisher.

Fire Extinguishers

Ref (AS1851 – 2012 sect 10)

Fire extinguishers shall be serviced—

(a) six-monthly (consists of an external inspection and some measurements);

(b) yearly (same as 6 monthly but can include internal inspections in some extinguishers); and

(c) five-yearly (generally includes pressure testing the cylinder, note it is often cheaper to buy new extinguishers than to pressure test).

Upon installation and after any usage, a six-monthly service shall be carried out. The starting date for five-yearly service shall be either the date of manufacture of the extinguisher or the date of last pressure test, whichever is the later. If the date of manufacture or last pressure test cannot be reliably established, a five-yearly service procedure shall be carried out on the extinguisher.

Adverse operating environments 

Unless protected from the effects of an adverse operating environment (any extinguisher located outdoors), extinguishers located in such environments shall be subjected to a more comprehensive service program by conducting the five-yearly inspection, test and routine service schedules, every three years

Fire Blankets

Ref (AS1851 – 2012 sect 11)

The frequency of routine servicing of fire blankets shall be in accordance with the following:

(a) At intervals not exceeding 6 months (blanket is removed and inspected for defects).

(b) When defects are suspected (if so blankets are replaced).

Hose Reels

Ref (AS1851 – 2012 sect 11)

Fire hose reels shall be serviced—

(a) six monthly (includes an external inspection and check for leaks); and

(b) yearly (as for 6 monthly plus a flow test to ensure correct flow rate).

For each of these pieces of fire equipment a Servicing Tag attached to the item will be stamped for the Month of the Year.

Summary records (a written document) must also be provided by the servicing company.

EXTINGUISHER & HOSE REEL SERVICING

To meet Australian Standards AS1851

Type

Servicing required

6

monthly

12 monthly

3 yearly

(adverse conditions)

5

yearly

ABE Dry Powder Extinguisher

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

CO2 Extinguisher

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Air Water Extinguisher

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Air Foam Extinguisher

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Wet Chemical Extinguisher

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Fire Blanket

Yes

Hose Reel

Yes

Yes

Need training to know how to use this equipment?

Check out our training courses to learn how to properly use and handle fire safety equipment.

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