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Reducing The Risk of Fire on a Construction Site

The danger posed by fire is significant on a construction site. Flames, smoke inhalation and explosions can all kill or severely injure workers on site as well as members of the public in nearby buildings which means that preventing fires from starting in the first place is of significant importance. Even with all the prevention measures and fire safety training in the world, the risk of a fire breaking out cannot totally be eliminated, and so suitable fire fighting equipment and pre-determined escape routes need to be introduced and conveyed to workers before a fire situation arises.

There are a number of steps which can be taken to reduce the chances of a fire starting on a construction site. Firstly, site workers should be provided with health and safety training courses which include an element covering fire safety and prevention. This will improve their knowledge, understanding and awareness of the fire risks that may be present on a construction site. A lack of knowledge or common sense is often the main cause of an accident or incident happening, and is equally valid when it comes to the outbreak of a fire.

Secondly, preventing the build up of flammable material can help to prevent a fire occurring or stop it from spreading to a level where it cannot be contained or easily extinguished. This includes clearing away items which will burn such as wood off-cuts and packaging material in a timely manner, as well as keeping them away from potential sources of ignition like heaters or live electricity wires which may be exposed by the building work or renovation taking place.

Compartmentalising and separating rooms or areas with fire doors can also help to contain any fire which starts. This can greatly slow down the spread of a fire, which improves the chances of the fire brigade being able to put out the fire before it becomes a major - and potentially deadly - incident.

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, prevention measures cannot completely eliminate the risk of fire, and so suitable action plans and emergency escape exits and routes introduced before a fire starts. This needs to be clearly communicated to everyone on site so that everybody knows where to go and any roles they may have in an emergency such as being a fire marshal or shutting off the gas supply, as confusion in a fire can be the difference between death and life.

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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