I have noticed in my visits across the nation that some managers are more effective at addressing deficiencies following an audit. I have taken the best of what I saw and created the following three steps to reducing fire risk when presented with a list of deficiencies.
1. Address all one-time fixes immediately
Those items that can be fixed and remain fixed should be addressed in short order. Examples include placing signs, fixing exit lights and other permanent fixes. Assign these tasks to the proper individual, with a timeline and assure completion. These items should not reoccur.
2. Train employees about issues that may reoccur
Some items may reoccur and are controlled by the employees at your facility. Examples include overloading electrical circuits, properly storing flammable liquids and other ongoing concerns. Employees must be engaged in the process of controlling these risks because they are most likely to be present in the event of a hazard. Unfortunately, they may also be the ones most affected when the hazard turns into a disaster.
Develop brief training (toolbox talks) to address each of these issues individually. Show the examples from the assessment report and explain how the issues create additional risk. Send your employees out to address the concerns from the report and to identify similar concerns in their workplace.
3. Audit your progress
You can only be sure that your fixes and training are effective by auditing your workplace regularly. Set up monthly audits to assure that corrective actions have been effective. This fire safety audit can address the deficiencies noted in your assessment report and other common fire safety concerns.
The systematic approach provided above has proven very effective in reducing fire risk in other facilities and can help you be fire safe too. Accomplishing these goals can be very satisfying.
Remember, you don’t have to go it alone.
- Review your fire management plans with your team annually and correct deficiencies.
- Look to an extra set of eyes, if necessary, from a consultant who has experience with fire risks.
- Know that I am here as a ready resource for your organization.