Washington Fire Prevention laws & safety compliance analysis

Washington Fire Prevention: What you need to know

Washington has no specific law or regulation requiring employers to conduct fire drills. However, Washington's own state health and safety code has adopted the safety standards of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). The OSH Act, applicable to private sector workplaces, requires that companies with 10 or more employees have written fire prevention and emergency exit plans for each workplace. Employers with fewer than 10 employees may communicate the plans orally. To ensure that the exit plan will work in an actual emergency, it is advisable to rehearse regularly with annual or semiannual drills.

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OSHA requires a fire prevention plan to incorporate:

  • A list of the major workplace fire hazards, proper handling and storage procedures, potential ignition sources and their control procedures, and the type of fire protection equipment or systems needed for containing fires caused by these identified hazardous sources
  • Names and job titles of employees responsible for maintenance of equipment and systems installed to prevent or control fires
  • Names and job titles of employees responsible for control of fuel source hazards
  • Housekeeping procedures for the storage and cleanup of flammable and combustible materials, waste, and other residues.

To make the plan work, it must be communicated to employees clearly and periodically. Additionally, a fire prevention plan should also include fire drill procedures and safety precautions for avoiding a fire. Fire drills should be conducted as frequently as once every 6 months or up to once a year, depending on the needs of the facility. After the fire drill, an employee briefing should be conducted by the employer to evaluate the effectiveness ...

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