Keeping You Safe

OSHA Fire Safety Training – What Is Required?


Fires and explosions account for 3% of the fatalities in the workplace. While this may not seem like a large number, the statistics don’t show the number of people injured and the property loss that amounted due to these accidents. Fire can wreak a lot of havoc on both health and property, which is why it is not surprising that employers are required to follow OSHA fire safety training requirements. This article gives the basics of these requirements to give you more information about what you will need to do in order to comply with the standards set by OSHA.

Why is OSHA fire safety training required?

Fires can occur accidentally in the workplace without warning. OSHA fire safety training is required in order to protect both the employees and property of companies by preparing them about what they need to do in case of a fire.

Basics of OSHA fire safety training

Before looking into the requirements for OSHA fire safety training, it’s important to understand that the standards set by OSHA actually follow the standards set by third-party organizations, such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Code Council (ICC). The standards set by these organizations are followed by other official organizations. In fact, local codes are usually made in order to comply with these standards. This fact lends more importance as to why you should allow your employees to go through OSHA fire safety training, even if it wasn’t required by the government.

As for the actual OSHA fire safety training, the organization has actually different requirements depending on what industry you are in. For example, there are standards set for Shipyard Employment, Marine Terminals, and Longshoring. The two main industry standards for OSHA fire safety training are Construction and General Industry (which is followed by most companies that are not part of the industrial or construction industries). The requirements for each industry were made to be different because each industry has different needs. For example, corporate organizations that don’t need to be trained in fire safety in the industrial settings. Because the requirements of OSHA fire safety training is industry-specific, make sure that the training that you get for your employees is appropriate to your needs as an organization and industry.

How to comply with the OSHA requirements

Some of the requirements set by OSHA include:

* Fire exits. Workplace buildings should have at least two fire exits that are remote from each other that are easily accessed in case of emergencies. Furthermore, these doors should not be blocked or locked that can prevent people from exiting from here. There should be clear signs pointing to the fire exits so that people can easily find these. Delayed opening is only allowed in case the buildings alarm system has been approved and is integrated with the design of the fire exits.

* Fire suppression systems. Fire suppression systems, such as automatic sprinkler systems, should also be installed in the workplace for fire safety. These will need to be properly maintained and kept in good condition so that these will work properly in case of fires. In case the system is put out of service for maintenance purposes or for any other reason, the employer is required to designate a temporary fire watch from his or her employees who will be tasked to respond to any fire emergencies.

* Fire extinguishers. Not all industries are required to have fire extinguishers within the office premises. In case your company is required to have one or more, your employees will need to go through OSHA fire safety training in order to familiarize them in how to use such devices. Of course, it’s the employer’s responsibility to provide the fire extinguishers.

* Emergency action plan. As with the fire extinguishers, not all industries and employers are required to have an emergency action plan. Should you be required to have these, some of the things you will need to do include coming up with an alarm system to alert employees in case of a fire, designing procedures in order to evacuate employees (especially those who are disabled) efficiently, as well as to keep track of those who have been evacuated, and orienting employees about any changes of the emergency action plans. Similarly, housekeeping rules about the storage and cleanup of flammable materials will also need to be established, as well as the proper handling of such materials.

OSHA conducts workplace inspections regularly, so make sure that the measures that you take for fire protection don’t end after your employees go through OSHA fire safety training. Regularly inspect the equipment to make sure that these are not fire hazards. Provide firefighting equipment in the workplace and make sure that these are up to date. By taking these measures, you will not only be able to comply with the official standards, you will also be able to make sure that your employees and your property are safe from harm.

 

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