According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), over 40,000 fires in manufacturing and industrial properties in the U.S. are reported to the country’s fire departments each year. While laws and fire codes vary from state to state, there are many that apply specifically to those in the manufacturing industry. Since manufacturing buildings and facilities are used to make things, they typically present a variety of different types of unique fire hazards and code violations to be aware of.
Structure fires are the most common type of fire reported from manufacturing or processing properties. To be specific, vehicle fires, electrical distribution and lighting equipment caused almost a quarter of these structure fires, with heating equipment and fires from hot embers/ashes closely following.
The fire inspector has a long list of things to check during an inspection of the premises of a manufacturing facility and property. Here are some of the most common code violations seen in the manufacturing industry and how to work proactively to avoid them in the future.
The Top 5 Fire Code Violations for Manufacturers
Improper Storage of Flammable Materials
NFPA 30 provides safeguards that reduce hazards associated with storing, handling and use of flammable and combustible liquids. Manufacturing facilities should be aware of the proper storage and location of flammable materials. All hazardous chemicals must be stored away from open flames or heat sources per the fire code to avoid explosions and other dangerous situations.
Blocked FDC and Valves
In order for the fire department to respond effectively to a manufacturing fire, it is critical that they be able to quickly connect to the fire protection system via the fire department connection (FDC) and other related access valves. Be sure that things such as trees, berms, vehicles, pallets, inventory, etc. are not obstructing the FDC or other crucial access points. There will be fire code violations issued if a clear path is not available for the fire department to properly respond and access the equipment.
Storage Violations in the Fire Pump and Riser Rooms
The fire pump and riser rooms are spaces designed specifically to house fire protection equipment. The storage of anything other than fire protection equipment, like filing cabinets, shelves, cleaning supplies, etc. is absolutely not permitted per fire codes. These items clutter the room and impede access to the fire protection equipment and valves during an emergency.
Proper Signage Per Code Requirements
Signs are a crucial component of the fire protection system in a manufacturing facility and are also frequently in code violation. While signs do not actually affect the performance of the fire system, they do label critical components and provide important information about the system for tests, maintenance and proper operation. Not only is signage with general information required, but fire codes also require that there are various signs about the fire safety system and how it works, fire department instructions, controls, test connection valves and more.
Wrong Equipment for the Facility
Often, when manufacturing facilities and buildings are purchased, they are used to produce different types of products than the original owner did. Since fire suppression systems are designed for a specific hazard, the existing system may need to be changed or updated to accommodate this change in production. Code violations are often the result of a visit from local code enforcers who are aware of the mandates and necessary upgrades for the facility.
Fire and life safety in the manufacturing industry is critical. Code violations should be taken seriously and addressed immediately. Let CertaSite comprehensively manage your life safety program so you don’t have to. Simply fill out the form below or call us at 844-906-2321 to start the conversation.