Richmond, Va. –
As we approach the holiday season, Defense Logistics Agency Installation Operations’ Fire and Emergency Services want to remind you to be vigilant in the workplace. This is the time of year when everyone feels festive, wants a little extra heat, wants to decorate their work areas and take part in office luncheons. It’s an exciting time for most, but we must remember to practice workplace safety at all times.
According to Fire Inspector Kevin Gordon, “There’s no question that space heaters can pose a major workplace fire safety hazard. Space heaters can be an ignition source, if not properly positioned and kept away from combustible type materials.”
Here are a few safety tips and requirements for space heaters according to DLA Instruction 6055.01, Occupational Safety and Health Program:
Space heaters in the workplace
A Heater Permit must be properly obtained before using heaters in your work areas. Complete DSCR FORM 4250, Space Heater Request Checklist to follow the checklist and obtain a permit.
Space Heaters purchased must carry the mark of an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL). A maximum of 750 watts are allowed. Space heaters must have adequate safety features, not be placed near combustibles, or improperly plugged and should be turned off when you are not present at your work station.
Cooking in the workplace
DLA Fire Prevention Office is contacted throughout the year by organizations seeking to obtain a Cooking Permit to use household appliances in their common areas, for grilling functions at Parker’s Pond and even deep frying outside their buildings. DLA Fire Prevention Office would ask that you call them at (804) 279-6782 to request a Cooking Permit 24 hours in advance and not the day of the event. This gives DLA Fire Prevention inspectors time to come by and inspect the area and give you some safety tips prior to approval. We want to provide a safe working environment for all employees in the facility.
Cooking appliances cannot be used outside of approved break rooms within a facility to prevent outlets from becoming overloaded. They also must be plugged into a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet and not a power strip and proper clearance of 36-inches shall be maintained around all indoor panels/aisles.
Decorations in the workplace
For most employees, the holidays are a time of joy, celebration and tradition. Decorating their cubicles and surrounding work areas is a fun, festive way to celebrate the season. To help keep you and your co-workers safe, here are some safety tips to follow:
· Seasonal decorations should be flame retardant or flame resistive, and not obstruct corridors, exit ways, other means of egress or be placed near heat producing items.
· LED lights should be used, as they run cooler, use less energy and last longer. They must also be nationally recognized with a certification mark, such as a UL, CSA or ETL.
· Inspect all lights and decorations for cracks, frayed wires or damaged sockets.
· Seasonal candles and plug-in air fresheners are prohibited.
· Pine trees and pine ornaments are prohibited in the workplace due to highly flammable oil content.
· Christmas tree fires can turn devastating and deadly within seconds, as shown in this National Fire Protection Association video.
Most of these safety tips can also be used at home, but DLA Fire Prevention would also like to give you a few extra safety tips regarding live trees in the home:
· Trees should be placed in a suitable stand with water to allow the tree to absorb the water.
· Check live trees daily and make sure they has adequate water in the stand.
· When your tree displays any signs of dryness, removed it from your home immediately.
· Be sure to unplug all lights before leaving the house or going to bed at night.
In conclusion, safety is everyone’s responsibility, we hope that you can assist others in the workplace and at home by following some of these safety tips.