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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.

These include:

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.

Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

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CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

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CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

This course is for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry as a member of the workforce to help them understand the potential hazards that they face at work on site. It aims to provide a practical summary of health and safety, welfare and environmental health and safety issues.

The course also allows delegates to identify their individual responsibilities for looking after themselves and others, what the employer's duties are and what should be done if they think anyone's health and safety is being put at risk.

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