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Fire Safety

Adapted from content excerpted from Better Work, a partnership of IFC and the International Labour Organization

Fire safety is important; it can save money and lives. The best fire safety practices prevent fires by reducing the risk of fire. Training workers is a very cost effective way to improve fire safety, because it teaches workers how to prevent fires from starting and what to do in case of an emergency. Make sure that there is enough fire safety equipment and that it is checked regularly.


✓ Fire prevention saves money by protecting property and lives.

✓ Minimizes fire hazards and risks.

✓ Safer workplace environment.

✓ Helps to show that the company cares about the welfare of its workers.

✓ May reduce insurance costs.

Good practices for fire safety in the factory

• Suitable types of fire extinguishers and fire hoses must be available. Some fires (e.g. electrical fires) require special types of extinguishers. Common types of extinguishers are dry chemical, halon, and CO2.

• Place extinguishers and hoses where the risk of fire is greatest.

• Denote the location of fire extinguishers and fire hoses by marking the floor below and painting the nearest wall or pillar red and/or placing signs above head height. These signs also mean that nothing is allowed to obstruct access.

• Install back-up lighting and water supplies in case the electricity or water mains are affected by fire.

• Install fire alarms in the factory (Figure 2).

• Ensure that electrical circuits are enclosed, insulated, earthed, properly fused, and not overloaded.

• Keep combustible material away from hot surfaces and open flames.


• Check fire safety systems to make sure that there are enough suitable extinguishers, hoses and exit signs.

• Make sure all fire safety equipment is tested at least once per year and is in good condition.

• Make sure fire equipment is easy to get to in case of an emergency and that signage is clearly visible.

• Form fire fighting teams (See Fire Fighters Good Practice Sheet).

• Implement an emergency plan which includes evacuation procedures.

• Run a factory inspection to determine where hazards are.

Costs: Low- High

Copyright © 2010-2016, International Finance Corporation and International Labour Organization. All Rights Reserved.

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