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.