Did you know that the vapor fumes from a flammable liquid can ignite? Storing flammable materials safely is critical to preventing fires. If stored incorrectly, a fire could ignite without your knowledge. Reevaluate the way you store your hazardous materials now, and see what changes you can make to create a safer working environment.
There is an enormous variety of flammable substances to be found in the workplace. They range from the obvious, e.g. gasoline, paint thinners, welding gases and heating fuels, to the not so obvious, e.g. packaging materials, dusts from woodworking and cleaning products. It’s important that you store these products properly to prevent a fire from igniting. Always keep an adequate number of fire extinguishers in the workplace.
For a blaze to begin, three elements must come together at the same time: fuel at the right concentration, a good supply of air, and a source of ignition. If you can control these ingredients, fires can be prevented.
By applying the following five ‘VICES’ principles you will be well on the way to considerably reducing the risk of starting a workplace fire.
Ventilation: It’s important that there’s a good flow of fresh air in your storage space. Good ventilation will mean that any vapors given off from a spill or leak will be rapidly dispersed.
Ignition: Have all the obvious ignition sources been removed from the storage and handling areas? Ignition sources can be varied and they include sparks from electrical equipment or welding and cutting tools, hot surfaces, open flames from heating equipment, smoking materials etc.
Containment: Are your flammable substances kept in suitable containers? If you have a spill will it be contained and prevented from spreading to other areas. Use of suitable lidded containers and spillage catchment trays can help to prevent spillages spreading.
Exchange: Can you exchange a flammable substance for a less flammable one? Can you eliminate them from the process altogether? Is there another way of carrying out the job safer? If it is possible, you should always exchange your flammable substance for a less flammable one.
Separation: Are flammable substances stored and used well away from other process and storage areas? Are they stored away from other harmful chemicals? Separating your hazards will contribute to a safer workplace.
Think about flammable substances you have in the workplace and apply these five principles wherever possible. Tell workers and all others who need to know about the hazards and how they should control them. Think VICES – if correctly stored and correctly used, flammable substances shouldn’t be too much of a problem to your business. Call Fire Control Systems for help on any fire prevention needs.