Fire Safety Codes in Warehousing
Whether you operate a small warehouse or a large one, it is important to ensure compliance with all the fire safety codes, both local and OSHA. This allows your warehouse to increase onsite safety and avoid any large penalties generally associated with noncompliance.
The most crucial measure for fire safety, just like in other types of properties, is scheduling the fire sprinkler system installation. It is a measure you must take to deliver high quantities of water at fast speeds in any potential situation.
Following are some tips that can help you improve the fire safety measures in your warehouse:
- Storage should be maintained at least 18 inches below the sprinkler head deflectors. Not doing so may block the water flow and compromise on protection.
- In the pallet storage facility, maintain three inches of transverse flue space as a minimum. You also need to maintain at least six inches of distance from the longitudinal flue space.
- Remember that flue space is measured in terms of space between loads, not between pallets. In other words, if the load extends three inches off the pallet side, you will start measuring the flue space from the load, not the pallet. If your warehouse is successful in meeting these requirements, then it is not necessary to install an in-rack fire sprinkler system.
- Any dead end aisles in the warehouse should not be above 50 feet in length.
- Aisles in solid piled floor storage should be located after every 100 feet. In case the storage is against the wall, aisles should be 50 feet off the wall.
- During manual restocking (where applicable), the unobstructed aisle width should be maintained at 24 inches minimum. For mechanical restocking, the width should be maintained at 44 inches minimum.
- Prohibit smoking completely in the warehouse, and make sure ‘No Smoking’ signs are noticeably placed throughout the warehouse.
- Propane fuel cylinders (liquid) used in LP forklifts should be stored 20 feet away from the fire exits and should be limited to 300 pounds per warehouse.
- Check the local fire codes in your area for important guidelines in regards to:
- Battery charging areas
- Automated operations for material handling
- Aerosols, plastics, and other hazardous materials
Meeting these minimum requirements may still not guarantee protection, which is why it is recommended that you create evacuation plans, provide fire extinguisher training, and designate staging and floor storage areas for improved safety!