Ensuring Construction Fire Safety On Site
Its important to note that construction fire safety is a different aspect to many safety issues you might encounter on a construction site. The ability for a fire to catch and take hold, thus endangering lives, is a very different one to a falling hammer, for example. Making sure you are aware of the procedures surrounding construction fire safety is essential to ensure the safety of you and those around you. Construction fire safety can be split into four main areas, namely escape, compartmentation, storage and alarms. Lets look at them one at a time.
The means for escape is, obviously, a massive element of construction fire safety. Establishing routes of escape and assembly areas are just a part of this. Assessing the floor surfaces, locks and emergency lighting is required to fully comly with H&S regulations. Questions you might have to ask in any construction fire safety checklist might be along the lines of Will the construction work make any changes to existing escape routes?"or "Does my construction work alter the lighting and emergency lighting? The chances are that you will answer yes to an element of this, in which case, a referral must be made to the project manager.
Fire compartmentation is an element of construction fire safety which is dedicated to containing the fire within the zone of origin, and providing a degree of protection to the rest of the building. Delaying the spread of fire is one of the most important aspects of fire safety, as it provides time to exit the building and for the fire services to arrive. The areas concerned with this include alteration of electrical cabling as well as fire door maintenance and demolitions.
The storage of hazardous goods forms the third element of construction fire safety. Anything done by contractors to increase the risk to a construction site must be very carefully assessed. Combustible materials and any on-site hotworks should be included. Remember, its not simply the most obvious and extreme examples which need consideration, like potentially explosive cylinders and flammable liquids.
The final element involves fire warning devices such as fire alarms. One of the most common reasons for fire damage on a building site is the incorrect maintenance of fire alarms. Fire detection devices are prone to dust contamination, and consideration should be given to this as well as the more regular checks and assessments.
Construction fire safety is every bit as important to health and safety as things like PPE and correct maintenance of working gear. In order to safely work, we need to consider the fire implications closely, and ensure we are complying with occupational health and safety regulations. Your work on any construction site, will almost certainly have an effect on how likely or serious a fire could be. Remember, construction fire safety is there for you and your co-workers to increase site safety.