With many hazardous activities comes the risk of fire. In the construction industry, the level of risk is much higher, considering the number of flammable materials on site.
A construction site fire not only puts workers at risk – but could also damage the site, put projects to a halt and cost your company a lot of money.
Due to the day-to-day dangers surrounding fire on a construction site, fire safety in construction is crucial to maintaining a cautious working environment. In this article, we discuss the possible situations where fire may occur and the steps to take to a safer construction site.
The common causes of fire on a construction site
Most construction sites will use flame retardant materials to avoid potential hazards, but construction projects often require flammable materials to get the job done. Scaffolding and any lingering waste can quickly fuel a fire if everything does not go as smoothly as planned.
The best solution to preventing a flammable fire is to ensure your construction site is clear of waste and that any fuel is safely away from any electrical equipment.
Risk of arson
Sadly in any industry, there is always a risk of arson, and on a construction site where plenty of ignition sources are available, there is a significant chance of crime and arson taking place. Despite most attacks having minimal reasons for the crime, construction sites can ensure attacks are limited by putting the relevant measures in place. Adding security provisions such as cameras, security guards, and motion detectors will secure the property as much as possible.
There is a likely chance that electrical faults can happen on a construction site when so much electrical work occurs. From fitting new electricals to removing old ones, electrical faults are a risk if you do not follow the correct procedures. Any electrical installations must go under inspections, with PAT training in line with any required regulations. Faulty equipment must be regularly checked and removed from the site, and all electrical tools and sockets should be switched off and tidied away when not in use.
Poor fire safety measures
Construction site fires tend to be accidental due to poor fire protection methods. Training is essential to ensure it is not only prevented but controlled if they were to occur. Lack of training, blocked evacuation routes, an untidy workspace and using incorrect fire equipment are all factors in how a fire can break out when the best procedures are not in place.
Designating a responsible person to take control of all measures allows for a dedicated fire risk assessment to be carried out, highlighting any risks, issues or previous problems to learn from. They will also ensure all equipment is maintained.
Fire safety in construction – how to prevent fire
There are a few steps to ensure workers and construction sites are safe from fire.
Fire risk assessment
The first step to take is to conduct a fire risk assessment. This document will highlight the possible risks in the workplace and the measures to reduce or prevent the risks. There are legislations in the UK that state the importance of a fire risk assessment and demand that one is followed to limit the possibility of fire.
Fire fighting equipment
After carrying out a fire risk assessment, you will be able to highlight the possible hazards and the required fire fighting equipment in an emergency. Once you have the appropriate equipment, it should be easily accessible, in good condition and regularly serviced. Remember that there are different fire extinguishers for different types of fires. Make sure you purchase the correct type of extinguisher for each fire that could happen on site.
While every building will have established escape routes, on a construction site with unfinished work pending, escape routes may be limited. Implementing an emergency plan can help ensure everyone on the site can evacuate safely and efficiently during a fire. An emergency plan is required before any project starts, regularly adapted to the ongoing work and highlights each role and responsibility.
Smoke and fire curtains for new buildings
When the building work is complete, you should consider installing smoke and fire curtains to prevent fire when occupants are at risk. For over 30 years, Coopers Fire’s innovation and commitment to developing industry-leading fire and smoke curtains have led us to become the designer’s preferred fire and smoke curtain manufacturer and installer. Get in touch with us today to find out more.