Extra Fire Risks During Construction Work
Construction or renovation activities within an existing building can create extra fire risks that would normally not be present during the building's normal usage, or at the very least would be at a much lower risk level.
These risks to the health and safety of those working in or around the building from fire can be particularly severe, with the danger from fire and the smoke it produces being potentially deadly. As well as fire safety qualifications such as the NEBOSH Fire Certificate and construction health and safety courses like the CITB Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) which will give workers a greater understanding of the dangers they face from fire and construction site activities, workers need to be aware of the many extra hazards and increased risk of fire that their actions or inactions may create.
The build up and storage of items and material. Construction work inevitably creates mess with material, fixtures, furniture etc coming and going, not to mention a number of tools and accessories being needed at different times. All of this can not only cause a fire hazard due to the greatly increased amount of flammable material, but it can also clog up corridors and block fire escapes, which can hinder evacuation and escape in the event of a fire. There is also a tendency to prop open fire doors when there is a lot of coming and going, which can make it much easier for a fire to spread if these are not closed and a fire starts when nobody is there.
Turning off electricity supply and alarms. To avoid the risk of electrocution, whilst work is being carried out it may be necessary to switch off the electricity supply. This is likely to cause fire safety features such as fire alarms and sprinkler systems not to function, which obviously increases the chances of a fire growing to such an extent that it causes harm to people's health and wellbeing.
Extra people on site. The people who do not usually work on the premises but have come in specifically to work on the project will need to be instructed in the relevant health and safety information and emergency procedures that apply on site. If they are not, they will not be aware of crucial information such as where to assemble in the event of an emergency fire evacuation, which might place themselves in danger or others who unnecessarily re-enter the burning building to look for them believing that they are still inside.