Workplace Fire Hazards

It is the intent of this university to assure that hazardous accumulations of combustible waste materials are controlled so that a fast developing fire, rapid spread of toxic smoke, or an explosion will not occur. Employees should contact the safety office (496-2414) for information concerning the hazardous properties of materials in their workplaces, and the degree of hazard each poses.

Accumulated hazardous wastes should be managed in harmony with the institutional toxic and hazardous wastes contingency plan which can be viewed on the safety office web page. Quantities should be kept to a minimum and the safety office should be promptly notified when disposal is needed (496-2414).

Fire prevention measures are developed for all fire hazards found. Once employees are made aware of the fire hazards in their work areas, they must be trained in the fire prevention measures developed and use them in the course of their work. For example, oil soaked rags must be treated differently than general paper trash in office areas. In addition, large accumulations of waste paper or corrugated boxes, etc., can pose a significant fire hazard. Accumulations of materials which can cause large fires or generate dense smoke that are easily ignited or may start from spontaneous combustion, are the types of materials with which this fire prevention plan is concerned. Such materials include paints, solvents, aerosols and other flammable or combustible materials that may be easily ignited by matches, welder's sparks, cigarettes and similar low level energy ignition sources. It is the intent of this university to prevent such accumulation of materials.

Certain equipment is installed at specific locations to control heat sources or to detect fuel leaks. An example is a temperature limit switch found on deep-fat food fryers found in cooking operations. There may be similar switches for high temperature dip tanks, or flame failure and flashback arrester devices on furnaces and similar heat producing equipment. If these devices are not properly maintained or if they become inoperative, a definite fire hazard exists. Again employees and supervisors should be aware of the specific type of control devices on equipment involved with combustible materials in their workplaces and should make sure, through periodic inspection or testing, that these controls are operable. Manufacturer's recommendations should be followed to assure proper maintenance procedures.

Fuels and flammable gases are used throughout the university physical plant as energy sources for various systems or equipment. Generators, snow removal equipment, grounds maintenance equipment, small internal combustion engines, motor vehicles, laboratory gas appliances, welding acetylene, stored liquid or gaseous fuels, etc. are located within and without many campus buildings. These fuels or compressed gases can be a significant fire hazard and must be monitored and controlled by the employees responsible for the use.

Potential fire hazards typically exist in the following locations on the campus of BYU-Idaho:

  • Chemistry Chemical Storage Room, Romney Building; flammable and combustible chemicals
  • Biology Department Chemical Storage Room, Benson Building; flammable and combustible chemicals
  • Physical Plant Paint Shop; combustible paints and flammable solvents
  • Physical Plant Vehicle Maintenance; combustible and flammable fuels, oil and solvents
  • Automotive Laboratories, Austin and Farm/Agriculture Buildings, combustible and flammable fuels and oil
  • Welding Operations, Austin Laboratory, Physical Plant shops; acetylene and oxygen cylinders
  • Stores and Receiving; institutional storage of solvents and oil for various campus entities
  • Art Department, Spori Building; combustible and flammable paints and solvents
  • Theater Scene Shop, Snow Building; combustible and flammable paints and solvents
  • Food Services, Manwaring Center; combustible cooking oils and kitchen operations
  • Home Economics, Clarke Building; combustible cooking oils and kitchen operations
  • Residential Housing Units; hair dryers, curling irons, kitchen ranges, microwave ovens, etc.