Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere

Being proactive is key to workplace safety. You don’t need to see an emergency or be in a disaster to prepare for a workplace emergency. Being proactive in preparedness can make all the difference in an emergent situation. There are ways to be proactive in on-the-job safety that can involve everyone.

Designate a Safety Officer

Designating a safety officer in your office can help keep workplace safety steps organized and proactive. A safety officer doesn’t need to be a new hire; it can be an existing employee who can help organize safety demonstrations, quizzes, drills, and more involvement in workplace safety. Having an actual person in charge can keep your office on top of everything ahead of schedule, and in line with standards. They can keep a record of employees knowledge of safety procedures; they can help write or re-write procedures and drills based on industry standards, and keep everyone up to date with any changes or upcoming safety training.

Smart Hiring Practices

Hiring people who showcase safe practices in certain injuries is key to keeping a safe workplace. In industries that handle hazardous materials, screening employees to ensure they know the importance of workplace safety in those areas is very important. Hiring too quickly or without proper screening can waste valuable time and resources within a business, and lead to a break in workplace safety. Hiring good workers is key to not only a productive workplace but a safe workplace. You want to hire people that existing employees can trust with the job and their lives.

Emergency Preparedness

Following OSHA guidelines and online tips based on your industry, your safety officer can help your office in emergency preparedness. Having the supplies, checklists, and drills organized and in place long before an emergency ever happens is where your workplace should be at all times. Emergency preparedness can help your team feel more confident in an emergency, both in and out of work, and can even save lives. The last thing you want to be in an emergency is unprepared.

Develop a Solid Safety Plan

For your team, you should have a safety plan in place that everyone knows in and out. This may be escape plans in an office setting or on-site crashes or incidents on a construction site. No matter the emergency, the safety plans should be laid out, practiced, and every employee should be able to pass a quiz when asked about the plan. New employees will learn the safety plan in their first week, and it will be reviewed by everyone once a quarter, or once a month if the workplace is more hazardous.

Quarterly Safety Checks

To lock in the emergency preparedness, practice with quarterly drills, and a run-through of the safety procedures you’ve laid out for your team. If your safety procedures involve having in-depth knowledge of hazardous materials, handling of hazardous materials, or potentially dangerous situations – you should conduct quarterly tests for your employees. Everyone should be able to pass a test on the safety measures before fulfilling certain duties of the job. You can’t risk the safety of others because someone didn’t know the details of safety practices. Your safety officer can help facilitate these quarterly checks and keep everyone on track.

Note these important workplace safety dates as well, which are opportunities to review safety procedures and practices:

October 6-12 National Fire Prevention Week

October 12 Home Fire Drill Day

November 3-10 Drowsy Driving Prevention Week

April 20-24 National Work Zone Awareness Week

May National Electrical Safety Month, Building Safety Month

June National Safety Month

September National Preparedness Month

Learn From Mistakes

Learning from the mistakes of others can be the best way to perfect and build out your safety plans. Looking up historical data of failed workplace safety can help facilitate necessary changes and updates to existing procedures and safety plans for you and your coworkers. Some of the leading causes of workplace accidents and injuries are due to lack of preparation, people taking shortcuts, and not following protocol. Being prepared can prevent a large majority of these incidents and learn from others to not make the same mistakes.

Expect the Unexpected

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Having a mindset where you expect the unexpected is key to being prepared for anything and everything. As you know, even the most thought out plans are not foolproof. You should have backup plans to your backup plans, and worst-case practice scenarios so everyone can be ready to react under pressure and on the fly.

 

Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere

Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere

Image result for the office fire gif

 

The three most common ways office fires start are cooking equipment, electrical, and heating equipment. Fourth in line, at 10% of all office fires, are (surprisingly) fires started intentionally.

So aside from not setting a fire yourself at work, here are some things to do to prevent office fires and keep you and your coworkers safe.

Don’t Overload Power Strips

Just because your power strip has eight outlets, doesn’t mean you should use all eight, depending on what you’re plugging in. Things like appliances in the break room should absolutely not be sharing a power strip. Computers, desk fans, phone chargers don’t draw a ton of power alone, but be wary when plugging them all in to the same strip. Also, check your power strip’s cords from time to time to check for any fraying or breakage. Also check the outlets themselves, if any have blown out you may notice some slight discoloration and it is time to replace it, don’t risk it being a fire hazard.

Store Hazardous Materials Appropriately

When working in industries that use or store hazardous materials, workers must be conscious of storing these properly. Flammable materials must be labeled and stored properly, and all employees must know where they are located and how to handle them.

Check for Frayed Wires

Any exposed or frayed wires should be disposed of and replaced immediately. If you are unable to do so on your own, alert the proper team in your office building to replace them.

Only Smoke in Designated Areas

If your office building has designated smoking areas, make sure you and your coworkers adhere to those marked zones. They are they for many reasons, and one is to avoid a hazard and keep others safe. Dispose of cigarette butts appropriately, and make sure they are OUT before being put into any cigarette disposal devices.

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Keep Appliances Clean

Food left in appliances can catch fire or smoke if left time after time without cleaning. Your office should create a sign-up sheet or some system that ensures the appliances get cleaned regularly including microwaves, toasters, and toaster ovens. Any containers or papers/paper towels should be removed from the microwave, don’t leave any remnants behind that could catch fire or melt.

Restrict Use of Hot Plates and Toaster Ovens

To make a truly fire-safe break room, some offices restrict or ban use of hot plates and toaster ovens. Toaster ovens left unattended can smoke and catch fire when anything drips down to the bottom. These are highly hazardous appliances and should be used with caution and with supervision. These appliances especially need to be kept clean, and plugged in to their own, surge-protected outlets.

NO FOIL IN THE MICROWAVE

Everyone should know this, but still, DON’T DO IT. Watch out for to-go containers that come in boxes, they can sometimes have staples on the side that may be hard to notice, but can spark if put in the microwave.

Don’t Overstuff Trash Cans

A bin of paper can be one of the biggest fire hazards in the office. If a wire were to spark, and the nearby trash can is full of paper and plastic, it can go up in a matter of seconds. If your office building cleans out the trash cans each night, that’s good – it can help keep those from getting overstuffed.

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Keep and Maintain Smoke Detectors in Break Rooms

The break room is a major point of fire hazards in the office and should have smoke detectors closest to the point of hazard. These should be checked regularly, and have back up batteries.

Watch for Suspicious Behavior

As stated above, 10% of all office fires are started by arsonists. Watch for any suspicious behavior in coworkers and especially any coworkers who have been fired or asked to leave under unfortunate circumstances. Collect all security access keys before employees leave for their last day. If anyone is acting strangely or angrily, have security escort them out.

Know the Locations of Extinguishers and Fire Alarms

After all actions are taken to fire-proof the office, tell people how to avoid fire hazards. The first line of defense when a fire happens is to know the emergency routes, how to pull the fire alarms, and where to find the extinguishers. In the event of an emergency, your office should have a laid-out escape plan. Using the extinguisher should only ever be done if it is safe to do so, and if necessary to allow escape. Ensuring everyone gets out of the building safely should be first priority.

First Response Safety Trainers offers fire extinguisher training and first aid that can help in the event of a fire or emergency in your office. Contact us to schedule an on-site and hands-on fire extinguisher training session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere