Occupational Health and Safety
Every year people or employees are fatally wounded by the thousands on the job around the world, the number is increasing day by day and the shocking fact is that a fraction of those also comprise of kids. There is a desperate need to be conscious of the perils at the workplace and employees are obliged to protect themselves by knowing their rights and having a clear understanding of the employer’s responsibility (Garrow, 2010). Employees need to make sure that they are getting the appropriate insurance that would compensate them adequately in case of any accident at work. Any workplace is subject to the hazard of fire. When people around the world are working in different areas and know that injuries and accidents can occur, the need of taking precautions arises. There are numerous hazards that can take place in a workplace which can lead to substantial losses, even death or severe injuries (Garrow, 2010). The most common types of hazards are those that arises from chemical, repetitive motors, fires, fall related injuries and electricity. It is the duty and responsibility of the employer to keep safe and secure environment for all the potential employees working in an organization, it also keeps the environment happier and more productive. Building of safety policies and strategies that specifically address workplace hazards mentioned above would be beneficial for the organization plus the employees. Employees working in an organization might be at risk relating to health hazards if their jobs involve exposure to chemicals. There are numerous substances that can severely harm employees, like, fumes, liquid, gas, solid, vapors, dust and corrosives. No matter, the employee is at risk of inhaling, absorbing or ingesting the substance through the skin or whatever, it is the responsibility of the employer to make sure that the risks are minimized to the fullest. These are the types of hazards which can take place in any sort of business an employer runs and operates, from retail to manufacturing. Fire is the most common hazard and is considered to be the biggest risk in an organization, regardless of the type of the business an employer is running. The Seattle Fire Dept. carried out a research and concluded that around 70000 to 80000 fires take place in businesses in the USA per year, despite taking all the safety measures and precautions. Employees aware of how to use the fire extinguishers, keeping hold of the fire drills, informing the employees of the emergency evacuation plans can make sure safety (Joseph, 2010).
In accordance with the UK’s fire safety order every business is legally required to take into account the full responsibility in lowering and detecting the risks associated with fire hazards (Steven, 2014). Avoidance of the fire hazard involves recognizing those activities and substances that could possibly instigate a blaze. Fire hazard is considered to be one of the workplace hazards that do not discriminate relying on the possible nature of the workplace. Fires are anything that can be caused from oil leakage in machinery on an assembly line to a short circuit wire in a printer or fax machine. It all comes to the employers of the organization to make sure that the places and environment their employees are working are free from severe fire hazards (Terrell, 2010). As of 2006 businesses are now completely responsible for the safety of the public and most importantly the employees from the possible risk of fire. In accordance with the fire safety order it has become obligatory for the businesses to carry out fire risk assessments, identifying possible fire hazards and developing a plan of action in event of any fire accident. The order comprise of compilation of updated and existing measures (Garrow, 2010).
To help and support the employees, all workplaces and environment should comprise of rules and regulations for restricting fire hazards along with the appropriate evacuation plans in case the fire takes place. The OSHA (small business handbook) delivers some of the important advice for averting a disturbing fire in a workplace environment. The tips are presented as a series of questions business employers to ask themselves. Examples are, “If the workplace contains a fire alarm system, is it licensed as tested and required yearly?” and “If the workplace environment contain automatic water sprinkler, are they in proper conditions?” Evacuation procedures should be clear and posted to all the entrances and exit points (Terrell, 2010).
However, the employer have most of the responsibility and duty in case of any fire hazard takes place but it should also be noted that employees should also be alert and help take fire precautions and safety into their own hands. Even between they are getting their safety training sessions, they should take out time to go over evacuation ways, use of fire extinguishers and ways to keep the work environment safe and secure for the fellow employees. In work environments where fire is an essential factor, such as areas with exposed flame cooking surfaces or metal manufacturing plants, employees need to be very careful and appropriately make use of all necessary protective gear (Anthony, 2014).
The possible result of a fire hazard can essentially be devastating. Just like when fire catches the house, a fire in the workplace amounts to more risks for smoke inhalation, serious burns, roof collapses and even death. A severe burn caused by the fire can land an employee in the hospital for days, weeks, or months and leave them incapable of carrying out their job either permanently or temporarily. This can further lead to extreme financial stress on the employee along with his/her family. The combination of serious medical bills and days missing work can be crippling in many situations. If an employee has been injured in a workplace and sense that it’s the employer’s negligence is to blame, the employee might take into account the filling for employee’s compensation (Anthony, 2014).
Back in 2007, nearly 170 individuals in the United States of America lost their lives in the workplace as the outcome of a severe fire or explosion, in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fire avoidance instructions for the workplace can help and support to avert death or injury, keeping the workplace safe and help to prevent financial losses to the company as well (Steven, 2014).
One of the many techniques to reduce fire associated incidents is to clear chaos out of office halls and everywhere around the workplace, in accordance with the operational work safety reserve Safety Exchange. Materials and paper that are disposed together can catch fire if ignited by a frayed electrical wire or a trigger instigated by couple of metal bits conflicting together. Clean up litter to eradicate possible sparking, including frequently discharging trash cans in the workplace environment. Garbage can also lump the emergency exit points and make vacating a fiery building problematic. Ensure that impediments are removed from in front of emergency exit points to assist a smooth exit point through an emergency (Terrell, 2010).
Power distribution trips and extension cords are regarded for a concentrated amperage and wattage that they can securely resist. In accordance with the U.S. Dept. of Cultivation Almanac, burdened extension cords can root a fire hazard. Employees should check the evaluations on extension cords and power distribution strips before using them to ensure you are not running too much power through them. Employees can find the amperage and wattage evaluations on the things you are plugging in on the item itself. Employees should use only use an extension cord as a momentary electrical connection because extension cords are not intended for continuous use. Employees should always try to plug things unswervingly into the wall outlet as much as possible (Garrow, 2010).
- Implement a database that involves prevention, preparation and acknowledgement of potential fire hazards for the employees.
- Employer and employees should make sure that they practice appropriate handling of flammable and combustible substances.
- Employers should maintain safe and secure housekeeping practices that minimize the risk of fire hazards.
- Employers should always keep sufficient fire suppression equipment in the workplace so that fire if occurred could be extinguished before it goes out of control resulting in further substantial losses (Steven, 2014)
- Employees should be aware that they never lay or pile material that it blocks or covers access to firefighting tools.
- Employees should ensure that they use authorized containers for the segregation and disposal ignitable refuse.
- Employees should never stock flammable material or substances within 10 feet of a building or location.
- Pile and stack all materials in the appropriate order and steady piles.
- Employees should never let preventable flammable things get gathered in any part of the work environment.
- It is the duty of employee and the employer to make a periodic clean-up of the complete work site and keep weeds and grass under control.
- On a regular basis employees should, dispose of flammable remains and scrap from your workplace (Anthony, 2014)
- Use only permitted ampules and boilers for storing, handling, and transport of flammable and incendiary liquid.
- Employees should at all-time implement assessment measures before performing operations that present fire hazards like welding.
By recognizing the possible fire hazards within the workplace an organization is complying in accordance with the Safety Order and the regulation. Examining possibly the hazardous materials, using them appropriately and in the end storing the safely is the initial step to fire prevention. Employees in the workplace are required to be fully trained to efficiently handle an emergency circumstance using suitable tools and knowledge. However, if in case any unforeseen fire takes place, there should be an appropriate plan to be acted upon in order to minimize the potential losses (Garrow, 2010).
Anthony, I. (2014). 12 FIRE PREVENTION TIPS FOR WORKERS. Retrieved from http://blog.safetysmart.com/2014/01/12-fire-prevention-tips-workers/
Garrow, K. (2010). Fire Hazards - Their Importance And How To Identify Them. Retrieved from http://ezinearticles.com/?Fire-Hazards---Their-Importance-And-How-To-Identify-Them&id=5206448
Joseph, D. (2010). Workplace Fire Hazards. Retrieved from http://ezinearticles.com/?Workplace-Fire-Hazards&id=3913058
Steven, B. (2014). Preventing Workplace Fire Hazards. Retrieved from http://www.stevenbrownassociates.com/blog/preventing-workplace-fire-hazards/
Terrell, M. (2010). 5 Fire Hazards You Might Have In Your House. Retrieved from http://ezinearticles.com/?5-Fire-Hazards-You-Might-Have-In-Your-House&id=5491612