Recommended Practices for Fire Protection and Line Safety Systems

fire alarm

March 9, 2015

In accordance with the law, employers must provide a safe working environment for employees and contractors, as well as for the public in general. The responsibility for ensuring the area is safe and does not promote risks to health is that of the employer.

Flammable or explosive materials must be stored according to specific guidelines and legal requirements. MSDS reports must be kept on file for all hazardous, toxic, and flammable materials. Fall arrest / line safety systems must be securely anchored in such a manner that the line cannot inadvertently be severed.

Fire and Hazard Prevention

Most workplace accidents can be prevented. Basic practices should be observed and implemented:

  • Follow OHS and workplace policies and procedures,
  • Hold and attend regularly-scheduled health and safety training, and
  • Identify hazards and risks and work to eliminate and mitigate them.

Fire Protection

Fire extinguishers, blankets, hoses, and other fire protection equipment should always be placed where they can be quickly accessed. Emergency evacuation plans, as well as posters illustrating procedures and how to administer prompt treatment for burns and smoke inhalation should be posted in frequented locations. Be certain the evacuation plan poster appropriately indicates, “You Are Here.” Practice and update emergency evacuation plans every six months. Staff should be trained in the use of all available fire protection equipment.

Industrial kitchen fires are unfortunately common. Installation, use, and maintenance of equipment and good housekeeping are integral to a safe workplace. Fire risk may be mitigated by

  • Locating gas type equipment in well-lit / draught-free areas,
  • Installing, maintaining, and clearly marking gas and fuel supply system shut offs where they are easily accessible if a quick supply shut-off becomes necessary,
  • Properly installing and maintaining electrical appliances and keeping exhaust fans and hoods clean, and
  • Keeping stored flammable materials away from heat sources.

Keeping fire safety equipment quickly accessible and sprinkler systems and fire alarms maintained and regularly checked by qualified personnel is essential. Practice and implement fire safety procedures, and installing emergency exit and equipment signage so people can find them quickly. Emergency exits should be accessible and unlocked during business hours and exit signs, illuminated.

In Confined Spaces

Fires and explosions often occur in confined spaces even more readily than in the open. Flammable gases and vapors can be present without being detected. Tests should be conducted to ensure the confined space is safe prior to entry. If there a possibility fire or explosion could occur in a confined space, it must be ensured no ignition source exists, or is brought into the space. Personal protective equipment (PPE) must be provided and contaminants purged prior to entering the space.

Fall Protection / Line Safety

Most falls from roofs, ladders, or scaffolds, or into pits and deep holes can be prevented or mitigated. Falling from heights creates the most risk for roofers. Not all scaffolds have temporary guardrail systems or they are not practical. In these instances safety line systems must be implemented. Any safety line system must be securely anchored and set up so sharp edges do not sever inertia reel lines. Lines must also be positioned so if the worker falls, a swinging, or "pendulum effect" will occur, so they do not make contact with the ground below.

Fall protection, safety line, or fall arrest harnesses should always be provided for anyone working above the ground. Travel restraint and fall arrest systems must be designed by a competent person and those using them must have been appropriately trained in their use.

Safety harnesses should be used where the scaffold is constructed from top to bottom, and there is nothing below that would impede an arrested fall and not used

  • when it is possible a worker may hit an object prior to their fall being arrested,
  • when it would restrict free movement and cause sprains or strain injuries,
  • when it would get snarled with scaffold components, or
  • if there is no adequate anchorage for lanyards or inertia reels.

Connor Pincus Group. Consulting Engineers.

Address: 1196 Toorak Road, CAMBERWELL, VIC 3124

Phone: (03) 9835 5000
Fax: (03) 9835 5050

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