Fire Extinguisher Inspection and Accessibility
Fire Extinguisher Inspection and Accessibility BY crashers Fire Extinguisher Inspection and Accessibility: Class Project University of AXES Professor XX Fire Protection Proposal A critical aspect for a successful business is the ability to motivate employees to increase and maintain their productivity. One key element in accomplishing this is to provide a safe working environment by addressing and mitigating risks or hazards facing employees. Although, it is impossible to create a completely risk free work environment, there are certain risks that can be addressed effectively, particularly he risk of a fire in the workplace.
The risk of workplace fire is a concern for any business and can be mitigated in many ways. This proposal will focus on a very effective and simple form of fire protection, fire extinguishers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) governs the use, location, maintenance and training of portable fire extinguishers. This is accomplished through OSHA Standard 1910. 157, “Portable Fire Extinguishers”. A recent walk through of this building revealed a clear violation(s) of OSHA standards regarding fire extinguishers.
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This reports will bring to the attention of Executive Management the importance of fire protection, attempt to identify the exact safety concern, determine what OSHA standard governs this concern and develop a feasible solution to correct the issue. The solution will take into account both the physical and economical feasibility of correcting the issue, while maintaining focus on employee safety. Fire Protection: It is not an uncommon event to have a fire occur in the workplace. Fires can result in serious bodily injury, including burns and smoke inhalation.
It can also lead to aerospace fatalities. According to OSHA, between 70,000 and 80,000 fires occur each year within the workplace in the United States (2013). Despite this number of workplace fires, fire and explosion only make up on average about three percent of the total workplace fatalities (BILLS, 2007). However, it can also cause enormous property damage and, depending on the type of business, can lead to serious environmental issues. It is also estimated that businesses suffered roughly 2 billion dollars worth of property damage each year from fires in the workplace (OSHA, 2013).
Fire protection, to include fire extinguishers, can be utilized to mitigate these risks, resulting in the reduction of on the Job injuries, fatalities, the loss of property, environmentally concerns and the negative impact fire can have on a business’s bottom line. There are many measures to combat fires in the workplace. One of the simplest and most effective measures in fire protection is the fire extinguisher. It can provide the means to extinguish small fires before they become larger and more destructive.
It can also be used to protect and clear egress routes that may become locked by fire during an evacuation, providing a safe means of escape for all employees. Fire extinguishers, in the hands off trained employee, can offer an important weapon in combating fires in the workplace, creating a safer environment for all employees. However, in order for a fire extinguisher to be useful, it must be readily available, in proper working order and must be matched to the proper fuel classification for the workplace environment, which is mandated and enforced by OSHA.
Violation: A walk through inspection was conducted of the building to include all five floors. On the third floor it was discovered that of the four fire extinguishers located on that floor, two out of four fire extinguishers were out of date by two months (see appendix A). Of the remaining two functional fire extinguishers, one of those was located in a locked storage room, on a shelf, behind a green plastic container (see appendix B). This is a clear violation of OSHA standard subpart Fire protection 1910. 157, Portable Fire Extinguishers, specifically the following sections: (c)(l).
The employer shall provide portable fire extinguishers and shall mount, locate and identify them so that hey are readily accessible to employees without subjecting the employees to possible injury. (e)(l). The employer shall be responsible for the inspection, maintenance and testing of all portable fire extinguishers in the workplace. (e)(3). The employer shall assure that portable fire extinguishers are subjected to an annual maintenance check. Stored pressure extinguishers do not require an internal examination.
The employer shall record the annual maintenance date and retain this record for one year after the last entry or the life of the shell, whichever is less. The record shall be available to the Assistant Secretary upon request (2014). As one can see, the company is in violation of the OSHA standards governing fire extinguishers, particularly the placement, maintenance and inspection. It should be noted that three out of the four fire extinguishers on the third floor were clearly marked and readily accessible to employees.
They were strategically located and were appropriately matched to the fuel classification for each floor. The fire extinguishers on the remaining four floors were all in compliance with OSHA standards. It should be noted the fire extinguishers on the each floor were inspected annually at different times or months, which could be a contributing factor. This factor, along with another observation, should be analyzed in order to develop a feasible solution.
Analysis: In order to resolve this safety hazard and find a feasible, yet effective solution, a couple of factors need to be considered. A direct and obvious factor relates to determining if the third floor poses a reduced perspicuity for fires. After careful review, there does not appear to be any evidence to support that fires occurring on he third floor are less or more likely to occur than on any other area of the building. There are no unusual activities occurring on the third that would warrant such a conclusion.
After a review of the company’s Hazard Communication Program, to include an inventory of chemicals for each floor and the Material Safety Data Sheets or Safety Data Sheets, the third floor does not house any different chemicals than the other four floors of the building. The number of employees occupying the third floor in a given workday is comparable to the remaining floors of the building. Therefore, he third floor warrants the same fire protection as the rest of the building, to include accessibility and maintenance of fire extinguishers.
The inspection schedule for the building, as it relates to fire extinguishers, appears to be on different rotations. This leads to another interesting factor as to why the inspection dates for fire extinguishers on each floor of the building are during different months? After careful review of the company’s Fire Protection, Occupational Safety, Health and Environmental Audits from 2002 to 2013, there appears to be no documented or social reasoning for having the fire extinguishers inspected on different dates.
It does not reduce cost, time or effort on the part of the company. Research and inquiries could not determine an actual benefit to this practice. Therefore, it should be concluded that this practice should be revisited in order to find an effective solution. Solution: After careful research and analysis, it was determined the third floor of the building does not warrant any special attention or need elaborate measures to maintain the fire extinguishers. Therefore, the solutions to correct these violations re simple, straightforward and cost effective.
They are as follows: a) Mount fourth fire extinguisher outside the storage room with proper markings, which will provide easy access to all employees. B) Ensure the annual inspection of all fire extinguishers in the building is conducted on the same date. C) Create a maintenance log and record the monthly maintenance checks with either the log beginning or ending with the annual inspection. D) Incorporate maintenance and inspection checks into the annual fire protection training. E) Challenge employees to check the inspection date n the fire extinguishers by offering an incentive to whomever brings to the attention of management an issue.
An example would be a privileged parking spot for a week or a free lunch for a day. All of the above are easy, cost effective suggestions to correct and prevent these issues from occurring in the future. Any one or a combination of these suggestions can be utilized to create a safer working environment for, not Just the third floor, but also the entire building. Conclusion: This proposal was designed to bring to the attention of executive management a rise of OSHA violation(s) concerning fire protection, particularly fire extinguishers, for the third floor.
Even though the company has made a good faith effort to ensure the building is properly outfitted with several devices to alert and prevent workplace fires, it should not neglect the very basic concept of the fire extinguisher. It can be a vital, cost effective tool to prevent injury, loss of life, property damage, environmental issues and the interference or shut down of business due too workplace fire. It can prevent a small fire from becoming much larger and be used to aid in an evacuation f employees due to a workplace fire.
The simple steps purposed will correct and ensure these violations do not occur in the future, ensuring a safer work environment for all.