During a game or in the workplace, keeping yourself safe is always important.

As winter kicks into high gear and temperatures drop, fire safety is critical to keep in mind.

On an average day in America, there are more than 200 workplace fires. Each year, workplace fires and explosions kill 200 and injure more than 5,000 workers, according to OSHA. Workplace fires also cost businesses more than $2.3 billion in property damage annually.

When you play 162 games a year, you learn pretty quickly that mistakes happen. No matter what precautions you take, no matter how much you prepare and practice – it’s not always going to go as planned.

Being prepared with a fire prevention policy is key. So too is being prepared with the right equipment to prevent and fight fires to ensure the safety of workers.

Be mentally prepared

It’s important to have a game plan ready for any scenario. Employers should always have fire escape plans posted on every level of buildings. Employees should be educated on emergency procedures, exit locations and escape routes. Practice makes perfect, so workers should take part in regular fire drills, every 6 to 12 months.

Practice what you would do in the case of a fire. Choose the right fire extinguisher and train workers in how to use them helps defend against workplace fires. All work places should have a reliable alarm and fire suppression system, such as automatic sprinkler systems. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are necessary on all jobsites.

Clean up after yourself

Unfortunately, most workplaces aren’t like a dugout at a baseball stadium. You can’t spit sunflower seeds on the floor and leave trash behind. At most workplaces – especially in construction – it’s crucial to keep fire safety top of mind, especially in the winter months.

With all kinds of electrical equipment and dust in the air, fires too often begin because a workplace is left unkempt.  Make sure combustible objects like trash and recycling is kept off the floor, out of the path to fire exits and away from electrical equipment. Also, always remember to unplug equipment that is not in use.

Be smart with space heaters

 Toward the end of each season, when the weather got cold – one thing I know I would have appreciated in our dugout is a space heater. To keep workers warm on jobsites throughout the country, space heaters are common in the winter months. But after a hot summer when all workers thought about was cooling down, it can be easy to forget proper safety procedures around space heaters.

It is critical employers establish and publish guidelines for the safe use of space heaters. If placed indoors and powered by gas, workplaces should have proper ventilation and carbon monoxide detectors are recommended. Electric space heaters should be inspected to ensure power cords are not frayed. Replacements are available and can mean the difference between life and death. In any workplace, it’s also vital that space heaters aren’t placed near combustibles.

Bottom line

When it comes to fire safety, it’s important to work as a team and make sure every individual in the workplace is prepared for any scenario. For more safety tips, visit www.northernsafety.com and check out the videos Northern Safety and I have posted to help you out. And stay safe!