Top 10 Safety Hazards


  1. Blocked Exits: All doors that exit to outside of the building MUST be kept clear at all times per Fire Code, even if it is never used. If it exits to the outside keep it clear and available as an evacuation route at all times.
  2. Lack of a posted Evacuation Plan: Very important to post next to the exit of every room at the facility for use in the event of any emergency that could occur.
  3. Unsecured Cabinets and Furniture: Brace cabinets and furniture greater than 5 feet in height to the wall to prevent toppling during an earthquake. Do not locate these items near exits.
  4. Rubber Cement, Solvent Based “White Out” and other hazardous art and craft materials. California EPA has identified these products as not appropriate for use at the K-6 level. A list of art and craft materials which cannot be used in Kindergarten and in Grades 1 – 6 is available at
  5. Cleaning Products Stored in Classrooms: Keep all hazardous materials out of the classroom entirely or lock in a cabinet that is not accessible to students. Check under sinks carefully. If labeled, “Keep Out of Reach of Children” every effort should be made to do so. Note: Bleach and Ammonia (which include powdered cleaners like Comet and liquid glass cleaners like Windex) should never be stored or used together. When bleach and ammonia are mixed, chlorine gas is created and could cause permanent lung damage…or death!!
  6. Excessive High Storage: Accumulated to extreme heights, excessive, heavy storage can pose a hazard from blocked fire sprinkler system or from falling. Lips or wires should be installed along tops of all cabinets, cubbies and bookcases and across the front of shelving to prevent items from falling during an earthquake. Limit high storage of heavy items.
  7. Poor Housekeeping, Excessive Clutter and Energy Consumption: Clean up clutter and maintain room in an orderly manner. Use of household electrical kitchen appliances in the classroom are energy expensive, create pest problems, and create indoor air quality and fire hazards. Limit food preparation, and cold storage of food to areas designed for these activities.
  8. Blocked Electrical Panel: A minimum of 36” of clearance is required. A covered electrical panel (with paper, poster, fabric or frame) is a blocked electrical panel.
  9. Posting of Signs. Non-existent “Microwave In Use” or Choking Hazard posters. Post a small sign outside any area using a microwave oven. This warns persons with pacemakers that a microwave is in use. The poster should read, “MICROWAVE IN USE.” Choking hazard posters should be posted in any area where food is consumed. Contact the American Red Cross at (707) 577-7632 or 5297 Aero Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95403-8070 for Choking hazard and First Aid posters.
  10. Combustible Fuel Load. Interior walls covered excessively with paper or other material. Reduce covering to no more than 20% total wall area unless the room is equipped with fire sprinklers, then no greater than 50% total wall area.