Every business has to be adequately prepared for unplanned emergencies which may happen at any time! Being prepared means ensuring workplace safety, undergoing adequate training in the use of different types of safety supplies, as well as having the various safety supplies readily available. Safety supplies also have to be clearly indicated with the appropriate signage as required by law. In this blog we will discuss 10 safety supplies that every business needs to ensure workplace safety.
1. First Aid Boxes
The General Safety Regulation 3(2) requires employees employing more than 5 employees to install First Aid boxes as part of their safety supplies. When first aiders use any equipment from a first aid box to treat a patient, the content needs to be replaced as soon as possible to ensure workplace safety. First Aid Boxes needs to be installed throughout the workplace and ensure that they are easily accessible during an emergency. First Aiders must conduct regular inspections to ensure that the content meets minimum safety supplies requirements.
2. Fire Extinguishers
The Environmental Regulation 9(2) indicates that employers shall install fire extinguishers as part of their emergency safety supplies. Fire extinguishers come in various sizes and different types which will be effective on different types of fires. Identifying the types of fires you will be dealing with is critical before purchasing the correct fire extinguishers to ensure workplace safety. Fire extinguishers need to be maintained and serviced on a minimum 12 monthly cycle. Ensure that your fire servicing provider is registered with SABS and SAQCC.
3. Fire Hose Reels
Together with fire extinguishers, hose reels play a significant role in reducing damage caused by fires as a first line of defence. If you may have Class A fires that may turn into big fires then a hose reel would definitely have to form part of your list of safety supplies. Unlike fire extinguishers that run out, hose reels can be used to suppress a fire until either the fire dies or the building is evacuated. A big part of workplace safety should be focused on fire fighting and fire prevention.
4. Fire Blankets
For small kitchen where food is prepared, fires fire blankets are invaluable pieces of safety supplies! Fire blankets must be visible, unobstructed and mounted to ensure quick access in an emergency. Poorly maintained fire blankets can fail to perform its required and catch alight which implicates workplace safety. When a fire blanket is used in an emergency it must be discarded and not cleaned and used again later. Fire blankets come in various sizes and to comply with workplace safety ensure that you choose the correct size.
5. Fire Detection Devices
All companies in South Africa have to comply with National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act 103 of 1077, SANS 10400 T, SANS 10287 and SANS 10139 when it comes to fire detection devices and alarms to be compliant with workplace safety requirements. Fire detection safety supplies includes smoke detectors, fire detectors, emergency break glass devices, fire control panels, fire alarms, LED flashers and water sprinklers. Ensure that your fire detection devices are linked to your fire alarm and they are tested on a regular basis!
6. Loud and Clear Device
The Loud and Clear device is a small, pneumatic, portable device which can be used to inform employees when workplace safety is in jeopardy at the touch of a finger. The Loud and Clear doesn’t sound like normal fire alarms and is easily identifiable by everyone within hearing distance. They can easily be installed throughout the workplace close to other safety supplies to make them easily accessible. Due to them being portable they can also be used where worksites aren’t fixed like construction sites.
7. Safety Signage
Safety Signage should be visible and placed with emergency safety supplies to indicate their location, according to the SANS 1186:5. Safety Signs indicating emergency safety supplies must be constructed from photoluminescent (glow-in-the-dark) material in order for employees to still be able to locate safety supplies in an emergency should the power be cut. Safety signage used for general communication in the workplace e.g. PPE to be used, indicate dangerous areas, or prohibited activities, etc does not have to be constructed of photoluminescent material.
8. Emergency Evacuation Floor Plans
SANS 23601 discusses the need for emergency evacuation plans to ensure workplace safety. Evacuation plans must be permanently fixed in locations where they are visible and readable to both employees and other persons entering the workplace. An Emergency Evacuation Floor Plan is a very important piece of a company’s safety supplies to ensure that everyone is quickly evacuated in an emergency to reduce unnecessary injury and death. It also indicated where emergency safety supplies can be found in the event of an emergency.
9. Evacuation Chairs
An Evacuation chair is a specialised piece of safety supplies which allows smooth descending of stairways in the event of an emergency. Evacuation chairs are usually used for injured, disabled or highly anxious persons who are not able to evacuate on their own down many flights of stairs. It is lightweight and folds away and can easily be mounted in strategic locations in a building for easy accessibility. The Evacuation chair allows single operators to evacuate persons without having to support any weight.
10. Personal Protective Equipment
Section 8 of the OHS Act that is the responsibility of the employer to supply employees with relevant safety supplies to ensure workplace safety for everyone. PPE can’t be seen as a substitute for workplace hazards and must be seen as a last resort workplace safety initiative. PPE will include the following safety supplies: hard hats, gloves, ear protection, eye protection, overalls, safety footwear, dust masks, full body harnesses, reflective vests, etc. PPE must be issued to all employees where relevant at no charge to the employee and it must be replaced as is necessary.