Archive for the ‘Office Safety’ Category

PostHeaderIcon I’m a fire safety officer, what are my responsibilities?

The old saying about prevention being better than cure is never more appropriate when it comes to the work of a fire safety officer. Their many tasks can and are responsible for fires not starting in the first place and, when they do, having those concerned acting in the safe and trained method for evacuation and fire fighting.
A fire safety officer is a teacher. He or she is responsible for seeing that all the requirements of handling an emergency in the workplace are fulfilled. Exit signage, fire safety doors, assembly points, staff instruction, correct notices displayed in all the right places, regular checks of all fire extinguishers and actual drills for evacuation procedures are all the responsibility of a fire safety officer.
A fire safety officer is also a qualified first aid operator and someone who knows about the different types of fires and the different types of fire extinguishers used to fight fires according to its type or class.
Fire safety officers are also responsible for inspecting buildings and workplaces looking for potential fire hazards, fire traps and the proper use of exits, fire exit signs, and assembly points. They will check the paperwork for a workplace’s fire safety instructions and procedures.

PostHeaderIcon How to spot dangerous cables in the workplace

Safety in the workplace is your top priority. The obvious reason is to ensure that all people and to a lesser extent all plant and equipment are safe and out of harm’s way. But there is another reason and that is productivity. If your workplace is not safe then this will have an impact on your bottom line.
Cables are a source of accidents. Power cables if frayed or broken can cause electrical outages and even electrocution. But there are many other types of cables in most offices, factories, shops and warehouses. Telephones and computers are often the source of many cables.
If you have long cables and these are in walkways then there is a strong chance workers will trip over these cables, perhaps fall and be injured and possibly damage the equipment. A computer crash because of a ripped cable could have a serious downside.
The solution to dangerous cables can be quite simple; the shorter the cable the better. Place desks and other pieces of furniture in such a way that cables are against a wall or at least not in a walkway.
If cables must cross a corridor, place them under the floor covering or bind the cables together and place inside a fixed tube or form of protective covering.

PostHeaderIcon What to do when there is a spill in the workplace?

The effect of a spill will vary. A giant oil spill in the ocean can have devastating consequences for many years. In your workplace the result of a spill depends on what and how much has been spilt. The most important thing is that prevention is better than cure. Know the right way to handle hazardous and volatile materials and treat them with the utmost respect.

But accidents do happen and if one does, be well prepared with your recovery routines. As with a fire in a building, you need a sound evacuation program and should run drills to help prepare for the real emergency if and when it happens.

Here are some simple steps you should take once a spill occurs in your workplace.

  • Stop
  • Contain
  • Clean

The first step is to stop the flow of the hazardous material. You want to find the source of the spill and seal it and the sooner the better. Now that there is no more of the substance escaping you need to contain that which has escaped.

Finally, having stopped the leak at its source and contained what has been spilt, you can begin the cleaning up process. How you clean and with what will depend on the type of material. Oil, paint and dangerous chemicals all require their own particular method of handling and in all cases the workers require the appropriate protective clothing, goggles and footwear.


PostHeaderIcon How to hold up a box without injury

Lifting a box may cause an injury. An injury can be anything from a slight inconvenience up to serious damage to your back and other muscles. There are several steps you can take to prevent injury.

  • Check the weight before lifting. The size of the box does not necessarily indicate its weight
  • Check the contents. Are the contents well packed?
  • Are there handles? If not, how will you grip the box?
  • If the box has to be lifted up high, use steps or a ladder
  • Use your legs and your arms rather than your back

There are other sound tips when holding up a box. Make your movements slow and smooth rather than rushed and jerky. Always face the box front on and never on an angle. The best ‘place’ to carry the box is between your waist and your shoulders.

If you have to perform a lot of lifts, take your time. Have a short break between lifts. Make sure you warm up beforehand with some simple stretching exercises. If the box is too heavy, do not lift it yourself but use a machine such as a forklift. Remember always that safety comes first and prevention is better than cure.


PostHeaderIcon What are fire assembly points?

In an emergency, and a fire is certainly an emergency, people inside a building are required to exit using the designated doors, stairs, etc. Once outside the building, everyone has to move to an area named as a fire assembly point which can be found by the various fire exit signs around the office.

Fire safety officers are clearly identified by wearing a coloured safety vest and it is their responsibility to conduct a roll call, a check as to who has gathered and remained at the fire assembly point. Remaining at the fire assembly point until directed to leave is essential and just because a siren stops sounding, that is not a signal to leave the fire assembly point.

But while staff will be aware of the evacuation procedure, visitors to the building may not. This is why visitors are required to sign a book and list their details. This book can then be used to check if everyone has vacated the building. Every business has to have a fire safety officer and drills or rehearsals for a real emergency are held from time to time.

Locations of fire assembly points are clearly marked at the sites themselves and on wall diagrams within the building and in literature provided to staff. If new buildings are added to the site or if fire assembly points are changed, full details must be published and a drill carried out.


PostHeaderIcon What types of fire extinguishers are there?

There are five types and all are colour coded. All extinguishers are required to be red with the appropriate colour band to denote its contents.

The most common extinguisher, all red, is the Class A extinguisher. It’s the most widely used and the cheapest. It is used to fight fires involving paper, cardboard, wood and most plastics. These extinguishers contain water and are not to be used on electrical fires.

Foam fire extinguishers with a colour band of cream can be used on flammable liquid fires caused by petrol/gasoline and oil. These are known as Class B extinguishers and can also be used on fires fought with a Class A extinguisher. Foam extinguishers are not recommended for fighting electrical fires although they are safer than water based extinguishers.

Dry powder fire extinguishers with a colour band of blue are sometimes referred to as the multi-purpose extinguisher because they can be used to fight Class A, B and C fires. Class C fires are those involving gases such as butane, methane and propane.

Class D fires are those involving metals and for which a special dry powder is used.

CO2 fire extinguishers with a colour band of black contain carbon dioxide and are used to fight fires involving electrical appliances. These are known as Class E fires

PostHeaderIcon Why is having a first aid specialist in an office important?

The most obvious reason is to save lives. If a person has a heart attack or other serious health problem, the quicker the patient receives help the better their chances of [a] staying alive and [b] limiting the damage to their body. There can be no greater reason for having someone on staff who knows what to do in such an emergency and can help the patient until professional medical help arrives.

CPR [a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Course] is a procedure that anyone can learn and apply in an emergency. This means you can assist a person – adult or child – to maintain breathing and circulation following cardiac arrest. In a serious emergency, every second counts.

But there are many other medical issues which can happen in an office. Someone can be scalded by a hot drink or cut or scratch themselves with paper, scissors, a stapler, etc. Being able to correctly stop some bleeding and then know how to dress and bandage a wound is important.

A first aid specialist can also remove dangerous situations in the office allowing prevention to be better than cure. Just making sure that the first aid kit is well stocked and readily available is another important factor and also ensure you have first aid signs pointed in the right places within the office.

Remember medical emergencies are never planned, they just happen.