Similar to many other workplace hazards, there is also a set of pertinent rules and regulations for fire safety. Right from a very young age you were probably told how dangerous fire can be. The effects of an uncontrolled fire can be monumentally destructive. Buildings can be destroyed in a matter of minutes due to fire, and along with fire often comes explosion. If explosive materials such as gasoline or other hazardous flammable substances come into contact with a fire, the risk for explosion is high thus causing further damage and injury. The NFPA 1 Fire Code is a helpful tool which covers all aspects of fire prevention and protection. The NFPA Fire Code 2012 edition contains a total of 75 chapters along with 7 annexes. Due to the extensive nature of fire protection, the fire code is quite large and must be updated every 3 years to stay current with the most pertinent fire safety practices.
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Common Industrial Fire Hazards
Fire hazards are everywhere, however, it depends on how the hazards are handled or protected that either makes them more or less of a danger. Let’s review some common types of industrial fire hazards.
· Electrical Systems: Electrical systems utilize electric energy which can very easily create and conduct fire. Any electrical systems that are overloaded may run the risk of overheating the wiring. This poses a risk for failed components and may cause fire.
· Smoking: This is a quite obvious fire hazard, however, it is still very important to mention. The usage of cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and lighters all pose fire safety hazards. Many work environments restrict smoking within a certain distance from the premises.
· Flammable Solvents: Many different types of cleaning supplies or solvents pose a fire hazard. Often times the ingredients within the solvent are flammable and may ignite easily if not handled properly.
· Combustibles: Combustibles are highly flammable substances that are often strong smelling and ignite easily. Some common combustibles include paint thinner, gasoline, propane, etc. All combustibles should be kept away from any equipment capable of generating heat or flames.
What is included for Fire Protection in the NFPA 1 Fire Code?
The fire code is immense and covers nearly everything and anything regarding fire safety. Not only does the fire code provide helpful information for the general public, but also contains pertinent rules and regulations for firefighters and first responders. For example, chapter 10 of the fire code focuses on general safety requirements. Some topics outlined in this chapter include occupancy, fire drills, smoking, outside storage, powered industrial trucks, fire protection markings and much more. Other chapters go into more detail regarding specific operations such as construction, airports, automobile wrecking yards, and dry cleaning among others.
In order to keep up with the latest and most pertinent information regarding all or any fire safety regulations the NFPA 1 Fire Code is a great resource. It is easy to overlook some fire hazards and just assume that nothing will happen, however, anything is possible. It is better to be proactive and eliminate unnecessary fire hazards while you still can, instead of being reactive and trying to clean-up and repair damages due to fire-related incidents.