When considering workplace Health & Safety in Australia, there are countless aspects that you need to be on top of. From risk assessments to COSSH regulations, the law lays down what's expected, and ignorance is not considered a valid excuse. One particular aspect we look at here today relates to fire safety and the positioning of fire extinguishers at work.
What Is The Australian Standard For Fire Extinguishers?
As TAFE courses on the subject state, portable fire extinguishers and fire blanket use in Australia are governed by the AS 2444 Standard that details everything you need to know.
Generally speaking, they should not be more than 30 metres away from the area where they might be used (for regularly sold fires) or 10 metres when talking about liquid or electrical fires. You see, the rules change depending on the types of extinguishers being used. The many types available include…
- Water extinguishers (red) - for regular solid fires
- AFFF Foam extinguishers - for both liquid & solid fires
- ABC Powder extinguishers - for solid, liquid, and gas fires
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2) extinguishers - for liquid & electrical fires
Where Should Fire Extinguishers Be Situated?
Where you place fire extinguishers throughout your premises will determine how quickly you and your staff are able to respond to fires when they break out. Online training in fire safety shows us that you always need to ensure you position yourself with an escape route at your back when using a fire extinguisher in an emergency situation, so where you place them matters.
Let’s take a look at where yours should be.
- Your Staff Room
In your average staff room, you’re going to find a number of pieces of equipment that present certain fire risks. Stoves, microwaves, and other cooking-related devices can easily result in a small fire breaking out in seconds. This means that a Class A (red) extinguisher should be positioned nearby for this purpose. It also offers a visual reminder of the need to focus on fire safety.
- Your Office
Another area that needs a fire extinguisher or two is your office of work. That’s because there’s typically a lot of paper, as well as electrical equipment like computers, that present a fire risk. Both a Class A fire extinguisher and a black CO2 extinguisher, as electrical fires don’t react well to water. You also need to provide instruction, as with first aid course training, so people know how to use them safely.
- Your Manufacturing Areas
Depending on the nature of your business, you may also have warehouses and manufacturing areas. Extinguishers are something of an essential item for these areas, as there’s often heat and electrical equipment involved in production. The materials you use will largely determine the type of extinguisher you’ll need.
- Server Rooms/Data Centres
An area that contains A LOT of important hardware is your server room or data centre. You only have to look at the fact that data centres usually need to be mechanically cooled to realise how hot things get in there. As such, you should have a CO2 extinguisher close by to keep all this gear safe and stop any fire from spreading to other areas of your premises.
- Emergency Exits/Hallways
An area that shouldn’t be forgotten is your business premises' emergency exits and hallways. This is because a fire can easily end up blocking escape routes, and people need a way to remove these obstacles. Just be sure to prevent staff from using extinguishers to prop open fire exits during the Summer - which happens.
This is such an important thing to get right and something you’ll only really notice if and when a fire were to break out. The good news is that there are a ton of resources out there to help you get it right, such as OCA online learning and the government website.
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Our team is ready and waiting to help you find the ideal short courses for your requirements, so to speak to us about your precise training needs, give us a call at 1300 611 404 or email email@example.com, and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.