There are many substances, materials and habits that can be found in and around the average workplace which constitute potential hazards and often in unexpected ways. As well as installing an up-to-date fire suppression system, there are many other steps that can be taken to maintain a safe working environment. Specialist MEP engineering companies is recommended, but before calling in a professional you may wish to consider for yourself the many unexpected hazards present in your workplace: hazards that arise every day as part of an active office environment.
Central to a successful fire suppression system is the protection of each distinct area of your building. Insulating factors such as fire doors can add precious time to the process of fire taking hold. In the event of a fire the suppression system can be maximised around habits of everyday usage. Segregation of eating, storage and work areas – as well as between areas that present different or complementary hazards – is optimised by limiting activity to the defined area. Problems are multiplied as different potential dangers come into contact with each other and interact.
Solid, Liquid and Gas
Aerosols and sprays are flammable due to their constituent physical make-up within the air. When these liquids also contain chemicals with flammable properties, as is the case with a number of oils, paints, toner, or sealants regularly found in office utility areas, the risk of potential fire is increased many times over. Acetones can also damage certain plastics which could compromise a number of items in your utility storage area. Fire suppression systems can help to identify and neutralise these target zones but a storage system based around awareness of materials’ hazardous properties can also help to reduce the potential danger.
Remember that many of these aerosols placed in close proximity can also present an explosive hazard in the event of fire. Pressurised containers are sensitive to dramatic increases in temperature and pressure and may burst, expelling fragments. In this event a chain reaction may occur. In such an event, the containers of nearby toxic materials have been known to become jeopardised, adding to the already considerable danger posed by smoke inhalation. Secure fire suppression systems will not only help control this fire but also provide ventilation to counter these effects. However, steps can be taken to reduce potential accidents before the critical moment.
Keep Your Area Clean and Safe
Clutter and un-emptied wastebaskets can lead to build-ups of potentially flammable material. The same can be said of cluttered desks and shelving. When papers are not firmly secured, especially overnight, microclimatic shifts caused by air conditioning systems for example, can disperse these materials, exaggerating hazard. Fire suppression systems will take account of waste management processes around your workplace, yet it is imperative that these processes are functioning to maintain optimal safety.
Exposed wiring constitutes an electrocution hazard, especially in relation to conductive substances. Metallic furniture may become electrified, as can water in the event of leakage or even something as simple as a freshly mopped floor or wiped down surface. As well as causing potential physical harm, electrical current is also a fire hazard and an unattended frayed wire can very rapidly instigate a conflagration. Part of any successful fire suppression system will involve maintaining safety around electronics. Loose wire will also be ideally reduced to a minimum so that the insulation effects of your fire suppression system can be maximised.
The key factor in assuring that your office does everything possible in maximising the effects of your fire suppression system is knowledge. A workplace staffed by employees aware of potential hazards is more likely to respect fire safety procedure, reducing the potential for danger and improving readiness if an event occurs. In the case of educational, retail or food service establishments, training is key to protecting those in your employees’ care in the event of fire and also in working to reduce the effect of customers upon fire safety. An awareness of the workings of your fire suppression system will protect your employees by allowing them to be responsible on the part of themselves and others.