What to Include in Your Fire Prevention Plan

by | Jun 23, 2023

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 70,000 to 80,000 serious fires occur in the workplace each year. These incidents kill 200 and injure 5,000 workers annually and cost an estimated $2 billion in property losses.

As an employer, you are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for your employees. This includes training workers about fire hazards in the workplace and what to do during a fire emergency. In addition to an Emergency Action Plan (also called an Emergency Operations Plan), OHSA requires some employers to create a Fire Prevention Plan.

A Fire Prevention Plan reduces the risk of fires by identifying potential fire hazards and ignition sources and ensuring employees have the proper training to maintain a safe workplace. Let’s review the guidelines about who should have a Fire Prevention Plan and what information to include.

Who Should Have a Fire Prevention Plan?

While OSHA strongly recommends every employer have a Fire Prevention Plan (FPP), they only require one when specified in an applicable standard. These include three standards for flammable or combustible materials:

If you work with these materials and have more than ten employees, you must keep a written FPP in the workplace where your team can review it.

Even if you are not strictly required to have an FPP, it is still a useful addition to your Emergency Action Plan (EAP). Do you have welding stations or machinery prone to overheating next to flammable materials like pallets or cardboard boxes? Do employees use electrical appliances in the breakroom or forget to empty waste paper baskets? It might seem like no big deal, but this is actually a fire risk!

Four Things to Include in Your FPP

Documenting potential hazards and creating a plan for managing fire risks will help everyone in the space avoid situations that could lead to a fire. Your FPP should contain four major sections:

1. Major Fire Hazards

This section of your FPP should list:

  • All major fire hazards
  • Proper handling and storage procedures for hazardous materials
  • Potential ignition sources and how to control them
  • The type of fire protection equipment needed to control each major hazard

You might find it helpful to group hazards together according to which area they are in. A breakroom or office kitchen will have different fire risks (such as an oven, microwaves, or hotplates) than the manufacturing floor (large machinery, flammable liquids or gasses, or welding).

2. Flammable and Combustible Waste Buildup

Your FPP must also include procedures to control the buildup of flammable and combustible waste materials. You don’t necessarily have to sweep every area clean at the end of each day. Instead, avoid accumulating large amounts of material like sawdust, waste paper, or cardboard boxes that are easily ignitable and create dense smoke. Be especially mindful of materials that could create a fast-developing fire, toxic smoke, or an explosion.

3. Regular Maintenance

Your FPP should include instructions for maintaining any equipment that produces heat. These machines usually have safeguards that prevent accidental ignition of combustible materials, such as temperature limit switches on food prep equipment or flame failure and flashback arrestor devices on furnaces. Preventative maintenance keeps these systems in working order.

4. Responsible Employees

Your FPP must also list the employees responsible for maintaining equipment or controlling fuel source hazards. These individuals need to understand how much heat is okay for a machine to produce, how to measure this heat, and any ignition points for fuel sources in the area.

Your FPP Should Be Easily Accessible

You must inform all employees of the fire hazards in the FPP and review how they can protect themselves in an emergency.

Keep your FPP in writing, in the workplace, and available for employees to review. You may communicate the plan verbally if you have less than ten employees. Remember, each plan should be location-specific, so you will need a separate plan for each building where employees work.

We encourage you to read the full FPP requirements in OSHA standard 1910.39.

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