Fires: A Real Workplace Threat

Our Rock Hill workers’ compensation lawyers have been discussing fire safety lately. We talked about fire safety for your home on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog and now we’re talking about it on our North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog.

You see, National Fire Prevention Week just passed and while that campaign focused on household fires, it’s important to remember that workplace fires and explosions are a real threat, too.
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According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL), workplace fires and explosions account for close to 5 percent of all workplace deaths each year. That might not sound like a lot to you, but it’s a significant amount of accidents, injuries and fatalities that can be prevented with safer work practices. The truth of the matter is that fire safety is adequately addressed by OSHA in specific standards for recordkeeping, the general industry, shipyard employment, marine terminals, longshoring, gear certification, and the construction industry.

What’s most important is that each workplace has a fire prevention plan. Although only specific workplaces are required to have these plans by OSHA, it’s important that all employers work to protect employees and have an effective plan in place. These plans need to be written down, need to be kept in the workplace and need to be made available for employees to review whenever needed. If you’re an employer is less than 10 workers, then you’re allowed to verbalize this plan, according to OSHA.

A Fire Prevention Plan Must Have:

-A list of all of the fire hazards on the job.

-A list of how to handle and store dangerous materials o the job.

-A list of potential ignition sources and how to control them.

-A list of the equipment that is needed in the event of a fire hazard.

-A list of procedures for how to control accumulations of combustible and flammable materials.

-A list of regular procedures used to make sure that equipment is safe guarded and that risks for accidental ignitions are eliminates.

-The name and the positions of workers who are responsible for making sure that equipment is taken care of and hazards are eliminated.

-The name and the positions of workers who are responsible for controlling fuel source dangers.

Employees should also know how to report a fire. They should know the evacuation plan and what their role is during the evacuation. Information for all employees should be checked following an evacuation to make sure that everyone is accounted for. Employees must be designated to contact the proper authorities regarding the incident. It’s also an employer’s responsibility to make sure that the plan is reviewed periodically to make sure it’s keeping up with workplace changes. When changes are made, it’s critical for employers to alert employees.

Fire and explosion safety on the job is a group effort. Everyone needs to be on the same page and procedures need to be clearly communicated to all parties involved.

Have you or a loved one been injured on the job? Contact the Lee Law Offices today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Call 800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:

OSHA Steps Up Training and Education Programs Nationwide, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, October 18, 2012

Mohawk Cited for Explosion Dangers by OSHA Officials, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, October 16, 2012

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