What Are Fire Risks in a Factory?
Factories are some of the most susceptible environments to fire hazards, so it is crucial to stay on top of fire safety. Protecting your home can often be as simple as installing a fire alarm. Factories are a bit different.
This guide will take you through the predominant fire risks within factories and what you can do to minimize them. Depending on the kind of work completed within the factory, your fire risk may be comparatively higher. Keeping yourself and your workers protected should be your highest priority, so this is an essential read!
Listed below are some of the most common fire risks found within factories.
Heavy Machinery Malfunctions
Regardless of what your factory produces, it is likely that it will feature some pretty heavy-duty machinery. The twenty-first century has brought plenty of innovation to the world of production, but faults can (and will) occur. These can often lead to some significant accidents. Namely: fire.
The most significant example of this could be heavy machinery malfunctions. Electrical distribution and lighting failures or heating issues are among the leading causes of structural fires.
Make sure you schedule routine maintenance and testing for all of your machinery, or you could pay a significant price.
Flammable Stock Accumulation
Whether it is clothing, paper, furniture, or combustible and flammable liquids, factories store an extraordinary amount of stock before shipping it to retailers. A lot of this stock is flammable, so it doesn’t take very much to cause a serious fire. It is true even if the stock itself isn’t necessarily flammable, as the boxes of storage most likely will be.
Try to keep the stock moving and separated wherever possible. You can’t remove the fire risk altogether, as stock will always mount up in factories, but you can take preventative measures. At a minimum, keep your stock away from sources of heat.
Kitchens and Break Rooms
Your workers need a place to relax during a long shift, but they also need to know their electrical safety. Train them to shut off all appliances overnight and preferably whenever they aren’t in use.
Appliances of concern could include coffee machines, microwaves, and any other electrical device. Remind them to use plug sockets sparingly too. An overloaded socket poses a significant fire hazard.
Lack of Fire Training Among Staff
Speaking of knowing electrical safety, your staff should receive training in all variations of fire safety. Not only do they need to have a firm grasp of the factory’s fire drill procedure, but they also need to know who to alert if they discover a fire.
Do they know where to locate the fire alarms? Are there communication channels they can use in case of emergencies? They need to know not only what to do when they discover a fire but also how to prevent one in the first place.
You don’t need to produce flammable products for a fire to break out. Woodworking and metalworking factories are also highly susceptible to fires, not just because of the heavy machinery involved. The dust produced from these machines can be highly flammable and could even result in explosions.
Almost any material becomes combustible once ground into dust. All it needs to do is come into contact with an ignition source to spark a dust explosion. It alone isn’t a tremendous hazard, but if the airborne dust then ignites a second time, your entire facility could come down.
Dust is not a matter to take lightly, and you should make sure staff know to frequently remove it.
How to Prevent Fire Hazards
The age-old saying remains true: prevention is cheaper than cure. In addition to identifying problems and responding accordingly, some preventative measures you can put in place immediately include:
- Creating Protective Areas: This is especially relevant to hot work. Have designated protective areas surrounding stations that utilize flammable liquids, dust, and other materials. This could be as simple as the addition of heat-resistant curtains or tarpaulins.
- Maintain Fire Prevention Systems: From fire alarms to sprinklers, you need to keep your systems running. Ensure that you are testing them frequently and that they are always in working order. If you don’t, it could cost you when it counts.
- Stay on Top of Tidying: We already spoke about the hazards of leftover debris, so clean it up! Keeping your work areas spick and span will reduce the fuel for fires, therefore reducing the likelihood of a hazard.
Though there are multiple steps you can take to prevent a fire, sometimes they are unavoidable. In this instance, you need to contact a professional. At All Dry USA, we have a team of experts with ample experience in fire damage restoration. If your factory has recently suffered fire damage, call us today, and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!