In recent years, fire safety has remained a top priority for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as fires and explosions frequently result in fatal occupational injuries. In this brief article, a Michigan OSHA lawyer with Cotney Construction Law covers tips for complying with OSHA’s fire safety protection and prevention regulations found under Subpart F- Fire Protection and Prevention of Safety and Health Regulations for Construction.
Maintain an Updated Fire Prevention Plan (FPP)
OSHA requires employers to maintain an updated, written fire prevention plan posted within the workplace that can be made readily available for employees to review. At minimum, your fire prevention plan should include the following elements:
- A list of any and all major fire hazards, proper storage and handling procedures for hazardous materials, potential ignition sources, and type of fire protection equipment necessary to control each of these hazards.
- Procedures necessary to control accumulations of combustible waste or flammable materials.
- Procedures necessary to regularly maintain safeguards installed on heat-producing equipment in prevention of accidental ignition.
- The name or job title of employees responsible for the control of these hazards.
Additionally, OSHA requires the employer to inform employees upon assignment of potential fire hazards. The employer is then required to review with the employee which parts of the prevention plan are necessary for their self-protection. Whenever the fire prevention plan is updated, the plan must be reviewed with all employees.
Train Workers About Fire Hazards
In order to protect yourself and your employees from fire hazards, all employees should be trained about fire hazards in the workplace and what to do in the event of a fire emergency. If you want your employees to evacuate or use firefighting equipment, you must provide the appropriate equipment and train them accordingly. For example, although employers are not required to provide portable fire extinguishers, if you do provide them, an educational program must be established to provide hands-on training with the portable fire extinguishers.
The same applies for emergency action plans. Only employers who are required by specific OSHA standards must develop emergency action plans; however, if emergency action plans are developed, then you must ensure that you provide the appropriate training to your workers on the routes and procedures to follow and the employee alarm system which will be used.
Ensure Your Fixed Extinguishing Systems Are in Compliance With OSHA Standards
Unlike other aspects of fire protection previously mentioned, OSHA’s fixed extinguishing systems general standard applies to all employees who have a fixed extinguishing system installed, with the exception of automatic sprinkler systems. A great way to stay in compliance with OSHA is to ensure that you are following your responsibilities for operating, testing, and maintaining these fixed extinguishing systems.
For starters, when the fire suppression system is out of service, you must be able to temporarily substitute a fire watch of trained employees. This watch must be included in both the fire prevention plan and emergency action plan, if applicable. If the extinguishing agent used in the system poses a potential health hazard, such as carbon dioxide, then signs must be posted accordingly. For more information on how you can bring your jobsite up to date with OSHA standards, contact a Michigan OSHA lawyer today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.