News Release USDL: 96-423
Tuesday, October 8, 1996
Contact: Stephen Gaskill, (202) 219-6091
Labor Secretary Reich Unveils Workplace Fire Safety Tips
Note: That Workplace Fires and Explosions Kill 200 Each Year,
Destroy $2.3 Billion of Property
Fire safety becomes everyone's job at a worksite, Secretary
of Labor Robert B. Reich said today as he unveiled a list of
workplace fire safety tips in observation of National Fire
Prevention Week. Workplace fires and explosions kill 200 and
injure more than 5,000 workers each year. In 1995, more than
75,000 workplace fires cost businesses more than $2.3 billion.
"Fires wreak havoc among workers and their families and
destroy thousands of businesses each year, putting people out of
work and severely impacting their livelihoods," Reich said. "The
human and financial toll underscores the serious nature of
Reich made his remarks to recognize National Fire Prevention
Week, which runs this year from October 6-12.
"There is a long and tragic history of workplace fires in
this country," Reich said. "One of the most notable was the 1911
fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City, in
which nearly 150 women and young girls died because of locked
fire exits and inadequate fire extinguishing systems. That
tragedy helped put basic workplace safety and health
considerations on the national agenda."
Reich urged employers to survey their workplaces to
determine whether they have adequate readily accessible fire
exits, fire alarm systems, the proper number and types of fire
extinguishers, proper and rehearsed fire evacuation plans.
Under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
regulations, employees have the right to complain to OSHA about
fire hazards in their workplaces. If employees request it, OSHA
will keep their identities confidential to avoid the possibility
of reprisals by their employers.
Fire safety tips Reich listed are:
Eliminate Fire Hazards: Keeping workspaces free of waste paper
and other combustibles, replacing damaged electrical cords and
avoiding overloaded circuits.
Prepare for Emergencies: Making sure all smoke detectors work,
knowing who to call in an emergency and participating in fire
Report Fires and Emergencies Promptly: Sounding the fire alarm
and calling the fire department.
Evacuate Safely: Leaving the area quickly in an emergency, using
stairs instead of the elevator, and helping your coworkers.
A single free copy of an OSHA Program Highlight on Workplace
Fire Safety and a copy of OSHA Booklet 3088, "How to Prepare for
Workplace Emergencies," may be obtained by sending a self-addressed
label to the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA/OSHA
Publications, PO Box 37535, Washington DC 20013.