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Preventing Fires on Construction Sites

Source : Loco Steve The opportunity for fires to break out on construction sites is great due to the work processes, tools and equipment used to conduct construction work. The first step in overcoming the break out of fires on construction sites is conducting a risk assessment. Conducting the risk assessment will involve: 1. Hazard identification: consider all the ways that a fire could break out. 2. Determine which people would be at risk: for example employees, contractors, visitors etc. 3.Evaluation of hazard and proposed action: Consider the hazards and people at risk. Thereafter act to remove and reduce risk to protect workers. 4.Record, plan and train: Make a list of all the potential risks and what actions have been taken to overcome them. Make a clear plan for fire safety and ensure that people understand what they need to do in the event of a fire. Make sure workers are familiar with this plan and how to react in an emergency involving a fire. 5. Review your assessment regularly: Check that risk control is still valid and make sure it takes account of any changes on site. An important aspect of fire management is ensuring workers have a means of escape. Some of the aspects to consider include: Determine a safe set of escape routes that should be clearly marked and unobstructed at all times. Signs should indicate these emergency exit routes and staff should be made familiar with them. Alternatives should also be identified to allow workers on higher levels get to ground level should a fire hamper the usual method.

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These routes can be protected by installing permanent fire separation and fire doors before as soon as possible. Also make sure escape routes give access to a safe place where people can assemble and be accounted for, this may be off site if the site is very small, maybe the pavement outside the site. Signs should feature along the entire escape route and be clearly visible. If the site is dark, these should be illuminated. Lighting should be provided for enclosed escape routes and emergency lighting may be required. Fire extinguishers should be located at identified fire points around the site and they should be fully functional. There are different types of extinguishers, depending on the type of fire being extinguished. A water extinguisher should be used for wood, paper and cloth fires. Where flammable liquids are involved a dry powder or foam extinguisher must be present. A common occurrence on construction sites is electrical fires which require a carbon dioxide (C02) extinguisher to put out. Nominated people should be trained in how to use extinguishers.

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Preventing Fires on Construction Sites