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Workplace Fire Injures Indianapolis Truck & Trailer Service Employee

Steve Wagner

A fire broke out at Lonnie’s Truck & Trailer in Indianapolis this month. The Indianapolis Fire Department and Wayne Township Fire Department were on scene and said employees were laying roof sealant on top of a semi-truck when a spark ignited a fire. After failing to extinguish the fire, workers evacuated and the flames quickly spread to the building’s walls and ceilings. Damages from the fire are currently estimated at $400,000.

Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services were also on scene and assisted in the examination of the ten people who were evacuated. One individual was slightly injured but released soon after. Thankfully there were no major burn injuries or fatalities and involved parties were well trained in relation to fire hazards in the workplace and knew what to do in a fire emergency.

Indiana Small Businesses and Fire Protection

Indiana’s state health and safety code has adopted the safety standards of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). The OSH Act, applicable to the private sector workplace, “requires that companies with 10 or more employees have written fire prevention and emergency exit plans for each workplace. Employers with fewer than 10 employees may communicate the plans orally.” OSHA also strongly recommends that all employers, regardless of size or regulations set in place, develop a written fire prevention plan (FPP). OSHA does require FPPs for workplaces where specific fire hazards are present.

If you run a business in Indiana and want to prepare in the event of a fire emergency, review these questions provided by OSHA as part of your fire safety plan.

  • Is your local fire department familiar with your facility, its location and specific hazards?
  • If you have outside private fire hydrants, are they flushed at least once a year and on a routine preventive maintenance schedule?
  • Are sprinkler heads protected by metal guards if exposed to potential physical damage?
  • Is the maintenance of automatic sprinkler systems assigned to responsible persons or to a sprinkler contractor?
  • Is proper clearance maintained below sprinkler heads?
  • Are automatic sprinkler system water control valves, air and water pressure checked periodically as required?
  • If you have a fire alarm system, is it certified as required and tested annually?
  • If you have interior standpipes and valves, are they inspected regularly?
  • Are fire doors and shutters unobstructed and protected against obstructions, including their counterweights?
  • Are fire doors and shutters in good operating condition?
  • Are fire door and shutter fusible links in place?
  • Are portable fire extinguishers provided in adequate number and type and mounted in readily accessible locations?
  • Are fire extinguishers recharged regularly with this noted on the inspection tag?
  • Are employees periodically instructed in the use of fire extinguishers and fire protection procedures?

Employer Responsibilities and Workers’ Rights

Workers have a right to a safe workplace but if you believe your job is unsafe or if you have questions about how fire hazards are managed you should speak up. Indiana law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. Workers are protected by OSHA prohibiting employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law. This includes an employee’s right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury.

If you are injured on the job from a burn and suffer some kind of permanent disability, you are absolutely entitled to a settlement. Give the work accident attorneys at Wagner Reese a call at (888) 204-8440to schedule a free Indiana workers’ compensation consultation.


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