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Fire Extinguishers Accessibility

Imagine that you hear the words exclaimed loudly, “FIRE!-FIRE!-FIRE!”  These words are so chilling that I once heard a self-defense trainer teach women to yell those words if being attacked or abducted.  Fire is an asset to humanity when under control, but when not contained, it can be devastating.  To protect workers from fires in the workplace, fire extinguishing equipment and training should be provided.

In most workplaces fire extinguishers become a part of the landscape and can be overlooked.  We can easily become complacent about them.  The time to locate, look at, and consider the location of fire extinguishers is before a fire breaks out.  In addition, fire extinguishers can get covered up by material or blocked off, making them inaccessible.

A few years ago, while I was speaking at a safety stand down, the manager proudly toured me through her newly redesigned warehouse.  As we walked through, my “hazard-radar” was on and I asked her if she wanted to know if I observed any unsafe conditions.  “Oh yes, that would be wonderful.”  After a few minutes she was apologizing to me for all of the hazards and asked, “Why didn’t I see those?”  One in particular bothersome situation was that a fire extinguisher hanging on the wall was blocked by material leaning against it, making it inaccessible.  It is easy for someone with fresh eyes to see what you overlook every day.

This week consider asking someone from another department to conduct a walk through.  Don’t apologize for the hazards that are found but carry a digital camera with you.  Make the necessary corrections to control the hazards found and then take pictures to show what was done.  Make a special note to take pictures of fire extinguishers and make these pictures part of your next safety meeting.  When showing the fire extinguishers ask participants, “Where is this extinguisher?”  This will increase participation in your meeting and help you target a zero-injury safety culture where Nobody Gets Hurt.

One Response to Fire Extinguishers Accessibility

  • adams says:

    Thanks for a well done job. It’s a daily occurrence in the workplaces. We need more people like you to make workplaces safe. Working should not cause pain or death.

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