Fire Safety on a Construction Site Needs to be Constantly Updated
Construction sites are constantly changing and evolving. Unlike other places of work which are likely to remain relatively unchanged for long periods of time, a construction or building site will by its very nature be changing through different structures being put up or taken down, new access routes appearing and disappearing, new personnel on site, e.g. if the work enters a new stage which requires a different team with specialist skills to come in etc. All of this means that fire safety measures which were sufficient in the past may not now be relevant, or may even place workers in more danger rather than helping them to stay safe. As a result, fire safety plans will need to be revised and updated as the site layout and/or activities change.
For example, site workers may have been informed that the assembly point in the event of an emergency evacuation is at the back of the main building. If however that space is then used to store materials or work has begun on another structure there, it will no longer be practical for the assembly point to be there. Not only will another suitable space need to be found, but this change in location will need to be communicated to all workers. If some end up going to the old location because they were not informed of the change, not only will they possibly be putting themselves in danger (e.g. falling down a hole where the new foundation work has started), but may also be putting the lives of others at risk who may think that they are still in the burning building when they are not present for the roll call at the new assembly location and re-enter the burning building to try and find them.
Workers will also need to be informed when other circumstances change such as the re-instatement of gas or electricity supplies, as certain activities done when a person believes they are off when in actual fact they are back on can lead to a fire starting. Also, different types of fire extinguishers may need to be provided as previously non-used substances are introduced onto the site for the first time.
Not only will a fire risk assessment need to be done before work starts, but will need to be done frequently as the activities and situation changes on the construction site. Health and safety courses like the CITB SMSTS courses and the NEBOSH Fire Certificate qualification will help site managers reduce the risks of fire on site. For more information, please click on the 'Health & Safety' drop-down at the top of the page.