OSHA’s Fire Safety Standards
At Cotney Attorneys & Consultants, our Brandon construction attorneys are experts in working with construction professionals, so we understand that for some industries fire hazards and other risks can not be eliminated. They can, however, be proactively prevented and plans can be put in place to keep workers safe. This preparedness also falls directly in line with the fire safety standards and requirements set forth by OSHA.
The expectation of OSHA is that as an employer you inform your employees about fire hazards in the workplace, along with instructions on how to safely evacuate your building should there be a fire emergency. It is also required that your facility have accessible exits to get all employees outside quickly and safely during an emergency situation. These exits must also be unlocked while employees are in the building and must not have equipment, debris, or other blockages that would prevent individuals from exiting.
It is not required that portable extinguishers be onsite, but if they are, a program must be in place to provide employees basic information about their use. If the expectation is for some or all employees to use the equipment, it is required that “hands-on training” be provided on how to use the equipment.
Emergency Action Plans
Per OSHA, if employees must be evacuated during a fire, or if fire extinguishers are provided or required, your business must have an Emergency Action Plan (EPA). This written document sets forth specific guidelines by which employees will act during a fire or other emergency situation. At a minimum, the EPA must include procedures for reporting an emergency, procedures for evacuation, a system for notifying employees of an emergency, a designated employee who will be responsible for providing information to other employees about the EPA, a way to account for employees after an evacuation, a procedure for evacuating employees who stay behind to shut down equipment, and emergency training. The plan must also be reviewed with existing and new employees, and must also be reviewed with employees when changes are made. Refer to 29 CFR 1910.38 for complete list of EPA requirements.
Because each workplace is different, as Brandon construction lawyers, we recommend conducting a safety assessment of your facility to identify potential dangers. Based of this assessment, create action plans for each potential emergency situation. It is also important to note, high-risk facilities that work with toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive chemicals have their own safety standards for prevention, preparation, and action to be take when handling fires and other emergencies. To determine if you fall under one of these categories call your OSHA Area Director or speak with your construction attorney in Brandon for more information.
To schedule a consultation with an experienced OSHA attorney from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants, please call us 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.