Fire Safety in the Workplace (Factories)

Factories are most certainly one of the most dangerous of places to work, so it is not surprising that there are a vast amount of rules and regulations that each company must abide by in order to keep them open and operating safely.

24,100 fires were recorded in factories in 2012-11. Twenty five people died and there were 1,200 non-fatal casualties according to the 'Department for Communities and Local Government' Fire statistics report for 2012-11.

The level of risk in factories varies, depending on the processes being carried out, the number of occupants, and the times the premises are occupied.

Each factory is different:

1. The layout
2. The machinery
3. The chemicals
4. The work involved

Regardless of the type of factory the main risks are:

  • Flammable substances and machinery if not checked regularly can cause malfunctions and start fires  
  • Smoking materials that are carelessly discarded run the risk of coming into contact with flammable material
  • Electrical equipment if damaged or out of test date can suffer faults and become volatile
  • Kitchens may be high risk if food is cooking and left unattended.
  • Warehouses can be at great risk, as they store lots of products and some areas may be left unattended for long periods of time
  • Tradesmen that use tools that require live flames such as welding torches etc.

In the later part of the 20th Century factory fires have increasing become less and less, as the laws and regulations over handling dangerous chemicals and working practices when dealing with such sensitive machinery have become tighter, with mandatory regular spot checks and vastly detailed testing for machinery and handling practices.

Safe working practices

Knowing your drills when handling the day to day equipment within your factory is perhaps as important as making sure you do a good job. Regardless of your particular job, it is your obligation to know the safest practices when handling all the day to day materials that you come in contact with and making sure that you stick to them. If you happen to doubt the practices of a colleague, you should report this to a line manager immediately, as they could be putting everyone at risk.

Fire Safety Equipment

All fire safety equipment in the workplace should be maintained according to the relevant British Standard. Apart from an alarm system and fire extinguishers, most factories will also be equipped with hose reels and possibly fire hydrants and/or a dry rising fire main.

All hydrants and dry riser systems should be inspected at least six monthly, and tested annually.

If you Discover a Fire

Raise the alarm and inform any other staff members or fire officials when on route to the fire assembly point. All modern factories will have strict guidelines about actions that should be taken when an employee encounters a fire, and depending on the type of factory you work in there could be any number of important safety drills you must carry out. However, all first and foremost state that you must raise the alarm and always put yours and your colleagues safety first.

Know your Fire Drill

Depending on the type of factory you work in, fires could very well be a common occurrence, if this is the case, the chances are the factory safety official has an outline of how to deal with them.

Trust the system. Whatever procedures are in place for handling these fires, they have been put there to safe guard the employees and are tried and tested. Regardless of if you happen to think you know of a better way to put them out, DONT! This could cost you your job if caught or even worse, your life.

If the fire alarm happens to ring out, make sure you drop everything and get out of the building in an orderly fashion, ensuring that any tools or equipment are stored safely and stopped, but only if this happens to be part of your fire drill procedure. As I’ve stated above, each factory is different and there could be any number of drills that need to be carried out in order to safe guard everyone. If you’re ever unsure, contact your factories designated fire marshal.

Follow the Rules

Regardless of the different safety practices from factory to factory, always stick to the rules specifically laid out for the current factory that you work, as following these rules will almost certainly aid you in concentrating on making sure you do a good job in a safe working environment.

 If you have not found the information that you are looking for, please feel free to contact us.



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