|There are many things you can do to ensure your business and work place is safe for you and your employees. Doing a self-assessment of potential safety issues and correcting them is an easy way to reduce the risk of not only fires but injuries by employees, lost production time or damage to equipment as well.
Click here to download a business safety review brochure. Use this to go through your business and see if there areas that need to have safety concerns corrected.
© 2014 The Injured Workers Support Network
Just follow these easy steps as a guide to walk through your business:
- Start by taking a walk around the exterior of your building, then the interior. Try to look as if you are seeing the business for the first time.
- Look carefully for items which might pose a fire hazard – they may not be easily visible, such as underneath or behind furniture.
- Make note of any issues found and correct them – the sooner the better.
- Fire Extinguishers (Annual)
- Fire Sprinkler Systems (Annual)
- Fire Alarm Systems (Annual)
- Commercial Kitchen Hoods & Ducts (Every 6 months) Cleaning and suppression system servicing
- Any special extinguishing systems (Annual)
Exterior Items to Look For:
- Is your address clearly posted? In an emergency, seconds count. Can your address numbers (and suite numbers, if applicable) be seen clearly from the street? Numbers need to be at least 4 inches in height and contrast with their background. They also need to be visible day or night – consider reflective numbers or outside lighting.
- Are fire lanes & hydrants clear and accessible? Ensure that parked vehicles, dumpsters, and stored items are not obstructing access to your property. Quick and unobstructed access is also required for fire hydrants, fire sprinkler control valves, and fire department connections to sprinkler systems. Keep three feet of clearance around all fire hydrants and fire department appliances.
- Are dumpsters and recycle bins located away from the building? Any dumpsters greater than 1.5 cubic yards needs to be at least 5 feet away from combustible walls, roof overhangs, doors and windows. Smaller dumpsters can be against those walls. If the wall is non-combustible (CMU, concrete, metal, etc.) with no openings above, then you can push your dumpster up against the building. If the dumpster catches fire and it is too close to the building, the fire can easily spread to the inside of the structure.
- Are exterior portions of exits clear and unobstructed? An exit doesn’t stop at the door – the exit corridor continues out to the public way. Check the outside portions of your exits to make sure they are not blocked or made impassable by storage or landscaping.
- Are compressed gas cylinders secured to prevent tip over? Secure even the small ones for balloons or BBQ’s to keep them from falling over.
- Is the area in front of the electrical panel clear? There needs to be at least 36 inches clear in front of all electrical panels. Clear of combustible storage and items that can limit access to the breakers in the event of an emergency. Also, this is a good time to make sure all circuit breakers or fuses are clearly labeled in the event the power needs to be shut off to a certain area or appliance.
- Is your electrical wiring covered? Check your wall outlets, switches, and junction boxes to ensure that switch and cover plates are in place. Keep the cover to your electrical panels closed, too. Missing or open covers are a common safety hazard and may lead to electrical shock and an increased risk of fire.
- Are you using extension cords? Extension cords, regardless of how “heavy-duty” they are, are still designed to be used on a temporary basis and may not be used in place of permanent wiring. If you need a longer cord, a surge protector that contains an internal circuit breaker may be used, provided it is not used to power large appliances or other equipment that draws a large electrical load. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for powering equipment and appliances.
- Are your electrical appliances and cords in good condition? Check appliances and equipment to make sure they are in good working order with no discoloration or warm spots that may be a sign of overheating. Check electrical cords for any signs of wear or fraying. Replace damaged cords – electrical tape is not a substitute for insulation around wiring.
- Are you using portable heaters? Check your heater to ensure it is safe for indoor use – liquid and solid fueled appliances create carbon monoxide and are not designed for business use. Check to see if your heater shuts off automatically when tipped over, if not, replaces it with one that has a tip-over switch.
- Are you keeping what’s hot away from what’s not? Make sure that anything that can burn is at least 36 inches away from any heat source, including furnaces, portable heaters, baseboard heaters, wall heaters, and water heaters.
- What are you storing, and where? If you have flammable or combustible liquids on site, store them in original or approved containers and check to see that they are clearly labeled. If there are more than 10 gallons stored in the building, an approved storage cabinet may be required. Check your storage location – storage is prohibited under exit stairways and in exit aisles.
- Are all exits clear, visible, unlocked, and unobstructed? Exits shall not be locked, chained, latched, or secured in a way that prevents exiting at any time that the building is occupied. You are allowed to secure the building to prevent entry, but not exit. Exit signs need to be illuminated and easily visible from within the building. Check hallways, aisles, and corridors to make sure building occupants can get to the exit doors quickly, safely, and free of any trip hazards or obstructions.
- Does your emergency lighting work? Emergency lighting is designed to light the way in the event of a power failure. If you have emergency lighting in your business, it should be equipped with a test button – test monthly for proper operation. If you do not have emergency lighting, have a working flashlight available.
- Are your exit signs working? Most exit signs are internally lit with light bulbs and eventually those bulbs burn out. Ensure you have properly working exit signs so all employees and customers can find their way out in the event of an emergency.
- Do you have a portable fire extinguisher? Fire extinguishers can be very effective when used properly on a small fire. The minimum size for a fire extinguisher in a business is 2A:10BC. The extinguisher must be mounted on a wall or other fixed object (such as a post) and readily visible. All employees must know where extinguishers are located and how to use them. The Bend Fire Department offers free fire extinguisher training, call (541) 322-6309 or click HERE to schedule a class.
- Do you have an evacuation plan for your business? A plan of action before an emergency happens can help ensure a safe exit of the building. Click HERE for more information on evacuations and planning.
Bend Fire Department has a Self-Inspection Program for businesses that have a statistically lower risk of fire. Participation in the Self-Inspection Program is voluntary. If the self-inspection post card is not returned, we will assume that you would prefer not to participate and contact you to schedule an on-site inspection. You may also contact us at (541) 322-6309 to opt in or out of the Self-Inspection Program.