NFPA regulations could provide greatest workplace safety.
The National Fire Protection Association (or NFPA) creates codes and standards related to fire safety and protection. Their stated goal is "eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards".
NFPA is committed to workplace safety where the risk of fire is concerned. In this pursuit, they have created over 300 codes and standards, many of which have been adopted by OSHA as well as an open and consensus-based development process designed to cover myriad industries.
The good news for businesses interested in complying with NFPA standards is that codes and standards are available for free online. The organization has also developed a variety of educational materials, seminars, and certification courses to help businesses remain safe.
Whether you're wondering how often to test your sprinkler system or you're interested in standards for the fire rated cabinets you use to store chemicals, NFPA regulations could provide the information you need to ensure the greatest workplace safety. Here are just a handful of regulations that business owners should be aware of.
1. NFPA 1
This code could be considered something of a golden rule where fire safety is concerned as it provides a fairly comprehensive guide to managing fire hazards in general. It covers issues like building safety, hazardous materials, and protection systems, just for example. It also incorporates standards that are covered in more depth by several other NFPA codes.
This is the place to start if you're interested in understanding how best to protect your property and your people from harm related to fire dangers. It provides basic guidelines for activities such as setting up, maintaining, and testing safety systems (alarms, sprinklers, etc.); safely storing combustible gases, liquids, or solids in storage containers and fire rated cabinets; and investigating emergency incidents like fires and explosions, just for example.
2. NFPA 25
Many cities and states have their own rules and regulations concerning the inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire protection systems. It is important that businesses understand their obligations under local law in this respect.
NFPA 25 provides the baseline for such rules where water-based fire protection systems are concerned. This includes not only sprinklers, but also pipes, valves, pumps, hose outlets, and so on. If your business utilizes water-based fire protection in addition to fire rated cabinets, alarms, extinguishers, and other safety measures, it's a good idea to peruse this code, as well as any related laws.
3. NFPA 30
Many businesses create, use, store, and/or dispose of any number of flammable or combustible materials. Even if you already use suitable containers and fire rated cabinets, you'll still want to read up on this code, which covers the basics of handling, using, and storing flammable or combustible liquids.
Whether you're interested in preventing hazards during use, storage, or loading and unloading of such liquids, this code provides guidelines to protect you from fire or explosion. Naturally, there are also federal, state, and local regulations to consider, but NFPA 30 will get you started.
4. NFPA 72
A few NFPA regulations are considered game changers when it comes to fire safety. Code 72, which updates rules pertaining to fire alarms and signaling, falls into this category. Once you've got your sprinkler systems and fire rated cabinets in place, you need to make sure that you can issue a warning should a fire occur.
This NFPA code provides information for proper location, installation, inspection, maintenance, testing, and more for fire alarm systems, warning, equipment, reporting systems, and emergency communication systems (if you have them in place). This rule also covers systems used for mass notification of disasters, including chemical emergencies.
5. NFPA 101
This rule is known as the Life Safety Code and many would say it is the single most important NFPA regulation for every business to read and understand. It is concerned with the protection of people in buildings, including increasing safety and reducing the potential effects of fires or related hazards should they occur.
Although all types of structures are covered in this section - from homes and offices to commercial and industrial buildings, old or new - businesses will find the information provided useful. If you intend to provide the greatest possible protections for your employees, this rule will tell you how to go about implementing a system of alarms, sprinklers, emergency lighting, and other measures that will save lives in the event of a fire.