One of the effective ways to eliminate and control fire hazards is to have a fire and safety watch. This is a requirement whenever welding and other operations posing fire hazards are done in the workplace.
Here are the basic responsibilities of a fire and safety watch:
- Watch out for fire hazards in the workplace while work is performed by other employees.
- Maintain the conditions and requirements stated on the safety permit.
- Keep flammable materials from ignition sources.
- In the event of fire, extinguish it immediately or turn a fire alarm on.
- Call 911 or the emergency alarm number.
- Stop operations if you find any hazardous condition.
Any condition in the workplace, whether usual or unexpected, determines your basic duties as a fire or safety watch. Some of them are the following:
- Make sure you and other employees are aware of the exact location of fire fighting equipment in the immediate area.
- Maintain constant means of communication.
- As much as possible, keep visual and voice contact with other employees.
- Before and during each shift, inspect the entire work area and look for potential release of flammable vapors or liquids.
- Be prepared to operate fire extinguishers, hydrants, fixed monitors, and hose carts anytime.
- Never leave the job site while the work is being done. If you have to leave, stop the job and notify workers that you are “standing-by-for”.
- When all operations are done, do not leave the worksite unless you’re sure that there are no hot sparks, burning embers and other fire hazards. Return all fire fighting equipment to their original location.