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Inspection at an Industrial Workplace Research Paper


Abstract

Many industries are investing heavily in various infrastructures in order to meet their output target with no regard to the safety of the investments in these premises which amounts to millions of money. It is in good practice for any industry to put the right measures as per the regulations of occupational safety and health administration regulations.

This inspection exercise is going to take a closer look at fire safety based on a workplace in an industry called Osmose Utilities Services Industry, a company based in United States providing products and services for electric, gas and telecommunications utilities.

This fire safety inspection is undertaken in order to comply with the statutory requirement as per to the national fire protection association. The inspection done covered the design of buildings in the poles treatment facility of the industry and the safety measures which were in place.

To facilitate this inspection, the inspector has used analysis of field data so as to get first hand information concerning the area under inspection. The findings of this inspection will be presented to the relevant industry authorities to be used for improvement of the current fire safety measures and in future when constructing new working premises.

Introduction

The purpose of this fire safety audit is to identify the fire hazards in the premises, identify who may be at risk from those hazards, evaluate the risks arising from the hazards and assess whether the existing protective and preventative measures are adequate or whether additional measures are necessary. The inspection will also record the findings of the fire safety audit and submit a report to the company’s management so as to improve on areas which needs to be improved.

Company Policy

According to Cote, (2004), loss of property is always of great concern to the affected parties, thus should be the policy of any industry to provide and maintain safe and healthy, environment, working conditions, equipment, and systems of works in a workplace. It is also the industry’s policy to provide adequate control of the fire safety risks arising from all work activities.

Osmose Utilities Services Industry ensures safe handling and use of substances. It provides training and supervision for its workers and also acknowledges responsibility for the fire safety of other people who may be affected by the industry’s work and activities.

Methodology

For successful completion of the inspection, the inspector held an opening meeting with the human resource manager and the industry safety officer who is in charge of the entire industry safety including fire safety. The industry buildings and premises were also inspected. Discussion with the ground staff, selected at random was also done and briefing the industry safety officer about the observations for immediate action. The inspector is also to prepare and submit the final inspection report to the industry top management.

Anticipated Results

The inspector will have inspected the fire safety in place at the poles treatment section of Osmose Utilities Services Industry at the end of this inspection. The inspector will access the fire risks and the precautionary measures in place in case of a fire accident.

Fire Fighting

The industry poles treatment plant has a water/ foam tender, water storage /pumps and ground hydrants. Fire extinguishers are distributed strategically in the pole treatment plant in the industry.

Risk Level

Osmose Utilities Services Industry has an established team of five employees who are well trained in fire safety, protection and fire fighting. These trained members of staff forms the fire fighting team, are responsible for the overall safety of the industry poles treatment plant section and they are trained according to the national fire protection association requirements.

The industry has a well structured emergency plan in place in that all the workers on duty are expected to report any fire accident to the fire safety officer and educated on the necessary measures in case of an emergency. Taking into consideration the layout, construction, design of the buildings, materials and work processes in the pole treatment plant and the procedural fire preventative and protective measures identified, it is the opinion of the inspector that the consequences to life safety in event of fire would be tolerable.

Description of the Workplace

The industry is on approximately twenty acres of land with detached building units comprising of two storey office block and poles treatment area with several workshops where this inspection was based on.

A single fire is unlikely to involve more than one building unit. The industry workshops are of open plan design where a fire would be obvious to every occupant. Workers in the poles treatment section work in their respective workshops performing and running various machines which are used for treating the poles.

Opening Meeting

An opening meeting was held with the management of the industry at the poles treatment section. During the meeting several important points were made by the fire inspector and it was made clear to the management that fire safety inspection is not fault finding, but it is meant to identify areas which requires to be improved.

This was established through observation, discussion with the management, personnel, reference to documents and records made available for verification. The inspector also made clear to the industry management that the recommendations made in the report are feasible and information provided is authentic.

Fire Plans And Management Inspection

This section of the fire risk assessment identifies the fire safety management procedures that are in place as shown in the table below:

Table 1: Fire Safety Management

Fire Safety Procedures Yes No N/A Narrative Assessment
Does the industry have a fire Safety Policy in place?

The factories and other places of Work occupational safety and health administration mandates occupier to establish a fire safety Policy, outlining the organization and arrangements for carrying out the policy.
Is there a suitable fire safety log book that is kept up to date?
Has a competent person been appointed to assist in undertaking the preventative and protective measures?

Are procedures to be followed in the event of fire properly documented?

Are procedures in place for summoning the fire and rescue service?

Are there suitable arrangements for ensuring that the premises have been evacuated?

Is there a suitable assembly point?

Are there procedures in place for evacuation of disabled people who are likely to be present?

Are persons nominated and trained to use the fire extinguishers

Is there appropriate liaison with the fire and rescue service?

Are routine in-house inspections of the fire precautions undertaken?

It is recommended that ‘Fire Action Plan’ notices be provided for each building near the exit. Each department should have a plan on how to respond in event of fire. Most of the areas audited are of simple designs, where occupants can notice a fire in initial stages and be able to extinguish it with the available fire fighting equipments. The fire safety department should immediately be notified through the section head. This should be done by use of telephone extension lines available in the pole treatment section.

Fire Alarm Systems

According to Nielsen, (2008) fire signaling to alert others is the first step in fighting a fire outbreak in work places. The inspector established that there were no arrangements in place to test the fire alarm systems on a regular basis by a competent person. There were no automatic fire suppression systems and temperature detectors such as thermocouples and pyrometers.

Automatic fire detection may be needed for a number of reasons such as, if there are areas where people are isolated or remote and could become trapped by a fire because they are unaware of its development, or if there are areas where a fire can develop unobserved.

According to the audit, the go-downs are of open design where an outbreak of fire would be obvious to everyone and may be extinguished by the people around, with the fire fighting equipments provided.

Table 2: Account of Firefighting Equipment Recorded

Account of firefighting equipment recorded in this audit.
Records Yes No N/A Narrative Assessment
Water Type

Figure 1: Portable Fire Extinguishers Portable Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers have been serviced and are color coded in accordance with the ‘Fire Risk Reduction’ Rules.

Foam

ABC Powder

Carbon Dioxide

Fire Blankets

Hose Reels

Hose Reel Booster Pump

Table available at https://www.msha.gov/

You must be able to satisfy the enforcing authority, if called upon to do so, that you have carried out suitable and sufficient fire safety guidelines. Keeping records will help the industry do this and will also form the basis of subsequent reviews.

Fire Hazard Inspection

According to Muir, (2007) any successful fire safety inspection must take into consideration the fire hazards which are in place. This includes sources of ignition, arson, smoking, cooking processes, hot processes, dangerous substances, other hazards and sources of ignition. This section of the fire inspection identifies potential ignition sources in the industry premises and materials that form sources of fuel.

Sources of Ignition

The sources of fire ignition found at Osmose Utilities Services Industry poles treatment section includes open flames, sparks from burning product, electrical gas or oil fire heaters, hot processes/hot work, cooking equipment, ducts and filters, extract fumes from dust and fume removal. Other sources of ignition which were found are frictional generated heat, static charges from mechanical equipment, poor electrical installations and faulty or misused electrical equipment.

Figure 2: Electrical Sources of Fire Ignition

Electrical Sources of Fire Ignition

Sources of Fuel

Anything that burns is fuel for a fire. Some fuels will burn relatively easily and if in enough quantities, will cause spread of a fire. These include flammable liquid based products, solvents, chemicals, gases, plastic, rubber, timber, textiles, furnishings and decorations. These materials used in this industry can lead to toxic fumes in case of fire outbreak.

Audit Of Fire Hazard

National fire protection association rules provide that inspections should be done regulary in order to reduce chances of possible electrical fires. Poles treatment section at Osmose Utilities Services Industry should be inspected regulary to reduce and detect any accidental fire.

Table 3: Hazard Inspection

Smoking Yes No NA Narrative Assessment
Are reasonable measures taken to prevent fire as a result of smoking?

Figure 3: Discarded Cigarette Filters Discarded Cigarette Filters

Available at http://www.sodahead.com/

Carelessly discarded cigarettes and other smoking materials likely at the areas designated for smoking, may start and a bush fire several hours after.

Is smoking prohibited in the building?

Is smoking prohibited in in-appropriate areas?

Are suitable arrangements in place for those who wish to smoke?

Is there any evidence of breach of the smoking policy?

Are ‘’No Smoking” signs provided in accordance to the Regulations in the country?

Consider operating a safe smoking policy at the designated smoking areas. Display suitable signs throughout the premises informing people of the smoking policy and the locations where smoking is permitted. In those areas where smoking is permitted, provide a shed, seats, ashtrays and a metal waste bin.

Cooking Processes

The poles treatment section buildings like staff kitchen which might have cooking processes taking place were inspected to establish if there were reasonable measures in place to prevent fire due to cooking activities. It was established that filters and ductwork were not cleaned regularly but flammable materials were well kept away from hot surfaces and open flames.

Where effluent passes through any part of the structure, the structure should be protected by fire- resisting construction and the effluent should terminate at a point where emissions can disperse in the open air.

Table 4: Hot Processes Inspection

Hot Processes Yes No NA Narrative Assessment
Are reasonable measures taken to prevent fires due to heating appliances

Hot works are carried out at the poles treatment workshops, using welding machines and gas.
The workshops are naturally ventilated and there is ample air circulation provided and no materials found, that were likely to catch and spread fire.
Are proper measures taken to remove flammable vapors from ignition sources?

Are measures taken to minimize the combustible materials where hot processes are carried out?

Are fixed heating installations subject to regular maintenance?

Are machineries well maintained to prevent frictional heat?

Hot processes should be carried out with special care, especially where flammable gases or vapors are likely, in a workplace. It should be ensured that where the operations or processes involve the application of heat, there are no flammable or combustible materials, likely to catch fire.

A system of hot work permit should be introduced and procedures be provided on how to prepare the areas where hot work is carried out.

Flammable Substances

The inspector observed that there were suitable measures in place to prevent dangerous flammable substances from coming into contact with ignition sources. Containers which are used for treatment of poles are well coated to prevent vapors from leaking. Flammable liquids were also stored appropriately and only quantities required for use were exposed at any one time.

There were also arrangements in place for the safe handling and transportation of dangerous substances in the industry. All highly flammable substances should be stored in a fire resistant enclosure and locked away, especially when the premises are unoccupied, to reduce the chances of them being used for arson attack.

Combustible materials should be eliminated near the buildings as they can ignite or spread fire in case of an emergency. Employees should be made aware of the fire risk, the flammable substances present and the precautions necessary to avoid danger.

Figure 4: Combustible Materials

Combustible Materials

Preventative And Protective Measures

Buildings at the poles treatment section of Osmose Utilities Services Industry are separated from each other; therefore incase of fire outbreak in one building, its unlikely to be spread to other buildings within the facility. According to Jeffrey, Tubbs, Brian and Meacham, (2007), it is a key aspect of any building design to provide for life safety in case of any emergency event. In this respect buildings at workplace should adhere to all the set regulations and procedures.

Most buildings which were inspected were found to provide safe exit routes for escape in case of emergency. However some buildings exit routes was found to be blocked or too shallow to accommodate the number of workers in them in case of emergency.

Figure 5: Blocked Exit Route

Blocked Exit Route

According to Taylor, Easter and Hegney, (2004), a well designed building fire exit should easily be accessed and should not be obstructed. The exit routes were also found not separated from other areas of work place with fire resistant materials according to occupational safety and health administration general requirements (Moran, 2000).

Table 5: Emergency Routes

Emergency Routes and Exits Yes No N/A Narrative Assessment
Is the premises provided with adequate emergency routes and exits?

In determing the adequacy of the emergency routes and exits, the inspector took into consideration into the design, layout and construction, likelihood of a fire starting and spreading quickly,
population density in relation to the means of escape and the travel distance to reach final exits.
Taking into consideration to the above factors, it was the opinion of the inspector that the means of escape in event of fire would be adequate.
Are escape routes properly designed?

Are there a sufficient number of exits?

Are exit doors immediately open able without use of a key?

Do fire exit doors open in the direction of escape where necessary?

Is the travel distance reasonable?

Are sliding or revolving doors avoided?

Are escape routes enclosed in fire resistive materials where applicable?

Are inner room conditions dealt with appropriately?

Are escape routes unobstructed?

Is emergency lighting provided where necessary?

Are arrangements in place to deal with evacuation of disabled persons?

Are signs provided to indicate the emergency routes and exits?

Is it considered that there is a reasonable standard of compartmentation?

Reasonable limitation of linings that might promote fire spread?

Are fire dampers provided where ductwork passes through a fire resisting wall protecting means of escape?

It is a requirement that every occupier should provide suitable means of escape from a building in case of fire. Escape routes should be independent from the normal routes and be protected from fire during the time of escape and that people would not have to pass through another room or be obstructed.

At the time of audit, the auditor was satisfied with the available means of escape provided for the buildings audited, however exit routes should be clear from any obstruction.

Table 6: Audit of Preventative and Protective Measures

Fire Fighting Measures Yes No N/A Narrative Assessment
Is the premises provided with adequate firefighting appliances?

The workplace is provided with portable fire extinguishers distributed all over the workplace.
There is a fire hydrant system and water storage of sufficient capacity.
The industry has also a water/ foam tender which require some maintenances service.
Are fire extinguisher and pipes for firefighting color coded?

Are fire extinguishers selected ad distributed according to the risks?

Is it possible to reach a fire extinguisher within reasonable distance?

Are special extinguishers provided to cover additional risks such as electrical equipment and flammable liquid fires?

Are extinguishers mounted on suitable brackets and indicated by identification signs?

Are extinguishers, hose reels and fire blankets readily accessible, unobstructed and ready for use?

Are there other fire suppression system installed in the premises of parts of it?

Table available at http://www.rsliferafts.com/

Class Description Of Fire

According to Conroy, (2003 ) laboratory tests have classified fire into five classes abbreviated by alphabetical letters A, B, C, D and K. Class A fires involves solid materials of carbonaceous nature such as wood, paper, household rubbish, rubber, textiles and some plastics (Conroy, 2003). Class B fires involves flammable liquids such as thinners, spirits, hydrocarbons, petrol, diesel and oils.

Class C fires involve electrical fires or energized electrical equipments such as computers, television sets, sound equipments and appliances (Conroy, 2003). Class D category of fire involve combustible metals such magnesium, zirconium, lithium and potassium while class K involve combustible cooking media such as vegetable oils and animal fats.

According to Diamantes, (2004), fire extinguishers are used effectively for only one class of fire depending on which agent the extinguisher expel to put out the fire. It is therefore important for Osmose Utilities Services Industry to strategically place the right fire extinguisher depending on which products are processed or stored in various premises.

Portable Fire Fighting Equipment

Fire extinguishers provided should be appropriate to the specific risks found in the premises in accordance to national fire protection association regulations. According to the assessment of the auditor and taking into consideration to the nature of the work process, layout and design of the premises, it is the opinion of the auditor that the available fire detection and alarm would be adequate.

A competent person should be identified to carry out the maintenances of preventative and protective equipments that the premise is provided with, at least two times in a period of twelve months. A well kept record indicating the dates of inspection and texts including the names of persons carrying out the inspection and tests as provided by occupational safety and health standards 1910 sub part H should be kept (Nielsen, 2008).

Table 7: Summary Fire Protection Checklist

Fire Protection Checklist
Facility: Industry workplace No. of Buildings: 15 Inspected by: Author Date:
22/06/2011
Address:
Occupancy Description: Osmose Utilities Services industry
If the condition is considered to be satisfactory, check (S); if areas need improvement, check (NI). For items checked NI, make a recommendation in the comments section on back.
Areas to be Inspected S NI NA Recommendation Number
Housekeeping
  1. Is combustible trash removed on a regular schedule?

  1. Are oily rags kept in approved containers?

  1. Is housekeeping satisfactory for occupancy?

  1. Are all stored materials stacked so they are at least 2 ft below the ceiling?

1
Smoking / open flames
  1. Is smoking prohibited in all building areas?

  1. Are adequate cigarette disposal containers provided in smoking areas?

2
Electrical
  1. Are extension cords used only for temporary wiring?

  1. Are cords in good condition?

  1. Do electrical outlets have two (2) or less appliances plugged into it?

  1. Are electrical lights clear of combustible materials?

  1. Do stairways have adequate emergency lights?

Portable heaters
  1. Do heating units have ample clearance from combustibles?

  1. Are portable heaters UL listed, and do they have tip-over switches?

Fire protection
  1. Is there an 18” space between sprinkler head and storage?

  1. Is there at least one fire extinguisher within 75 ft travel distance from anywhere in the facility?

  1. Has the fire extinguisher been serviced in the last year?

  1. Is the fire extinguisher inspected monthly?

3
  1. Is the fire extinguisher classification 2A10BC or greater classification?

  1. Are fire extinguishers in a visible, marked and accessible location?

Exits
  1. Are emergency exits clear and accessible? (no side bolt locks)

  1. Are exits identified and /or illuminated?

  1. Do emergency power / lighting exist for exits?

4
  1. Are non-exists marked “not an exit” or otherwise noted?

  1. Do exit doors open outward?

Exit access
  1. Are the aisles at least 28 in wide?

  1. Do aisles have clear access, free of projections?

Personnel
  1. Do employees know how to respond to an emergency (familiar with Emergency Action Plan and evacuation routes posted)?

  1. Have period drills been performed?

5
Maintenance garage / warehouse (if applicable)
  1. Are propane tanks properly stored?

  1. Are flammable liquids kept in closed containers when not in use? (E.g. parts cleaning tanks).

  1. Are combustible scrap, debris or waste material (oily rags, etc) stored in covered metal receptacles and promptly removed from the worksite?

  1. Are approved containers and tanks used to store and handle flammable and combustible liquids?

  1. Are bulk drums of flammable liquids grounded and bonded to containers during dispensing?

  1. Are fuel gas cylinders and oxygen cylinders separated by distance and fire-resistant barrier while in storage?

  1. Is there an emergency alarm system in place and functional? Is there an emergency action plan and evacuation route map readily accessible?

Recommendations

  1. Proper storage of materials should be ensured.
  2. Adequate cigarette disposal containers should be provided in fire assembly areas
  3. Fire extinguishers should be inspected regularly at least once in a month.
  4. The management should ensure adequate emergency lights are provided in the exits.
  5. Outside contractors and casuals should be given induction information regarding fire safety and risks before work commences and sign as having understood. Regular fire drills should also be performed to equip the industry occupants with fire safety measures

References

Conroy, T., M. (2003). NFPA Guide to Portable Fire Extinguishers. New York. Jones & Bartlett.

Cote, E., A. (2004). Fundamentals of Fire Protection. New York. Jones & Bartlett.

Diamantes, D. (2004). Principles of Fire Prevention. New York. Cengage Learning.

Moran, M., M. (2011). The OSHA Answer Book. New York. Mark Moran

Muir, P., M., M. (2007). The Chemistry of Fire. New York. Methuen.

Nielsen, R. (2008). OSHA Regulations and Guidelines: a guide for health care providers. New York. Delmar.

Taylor, G., Easter, K. & Hegney, R. (2004).Enhancing Occupational Safety and Health. New York. Butterworth Heinemann.

Tubbs, J., S. & Meacham, J., B. Egress Design Solutions: a guide to evacuation and crowd management planning. New York. John Wiley & Sons.

This Research Paper on Inspection at an Industrial Workplace was written and submitted by user Darth Maul to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Darth Maul studied at Georgia State University, USA, with average GPA 3.19 out of 4.0.

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Maul, D. (2020, January 15). Inspection at an Industrial Workplace [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/inspection-at-an-industrial-workplace/

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Maul, Darth. "Inspection at an Industrial Workplace." IvyPanda, 15 Jan. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/inspection-at-an-industrial-workplace/.

1. Darth Maul. "Inspection at an Industrial Workplace." IvyPanda (blog), January 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/inspection-at-an-industrial-workplace/.


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Maul, Darth. "Inspection at an Industrial Workplace." IvyPanda (blog), January 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/inspection-at-an-industrial-workplace/.

References

Maul, Darth. 2020. "Inspection at an Industrial Workplace." IvyPanda (blog), January 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/inspection-at-an-industrial-workplace/.

References

Maul, D. (2020) 'Inspection at an Industrial Workplace'. IvyPanda, 15 January.

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