Between 2007 and 2011, US fire departments were sent out to an average of 5,120 fires taking place at construction/renovation sites, with a total of 9 deaths, 94 injuries, and $265 in damages accompanying such fires. However, it doesn’t have to be this way! Heed our advice about controlling the danger of construction zone fires.
When planning a construction project
Before you start construction, review the entire site for fire hazards and assess how easy or difficult it would be for firefighters to reach the site with their equipment. It is essential to plans routes for firefighters, ensuring that their access to nearby fire hydrants is not impeded. You should also teach employees how to prevent fires and deal with them should they occur, perhaps implementing a Hot Work Permit system which enforces certain protocols when dealing with open flames, sparks, and heat in general.
For every 3000 square feet of protected building area, there needs to be at least one fire extinguisher which is rated 2A or better. From the protected area to the fire extinguisher, there must be a no more than 100 feet to cover. Also, if there are multiple levels, an extinguisher should be put in the stairwell near the entrance to levels. It is also a good idea to have a sprinkler system installed if possible.
If you’re working in a cold area and there are temporary heaters around, be sure to attach them to a solid base and place them far away from combustible materials and any woodwork, remembering to turn them off as you leave!
During a construction project
On-site inspections should be regularly carried out around the work area and anywhere where workers frequent, documenting material storage areas and keeping track of flammable materials. In order to help with fire prevention, any trailers or portable offices should be made from noncombustible materials and should be a minimum of 50 feet away from construction sites, as well as 30 feet away from other trailers.
When it comes to flammable materials, be sure to store them appropriately and minimize how many you have around. In addition to this, enforce a no smoking policy throughout your entire construction site, although this should be common sense! The dumpsters you use should be positioned away from buildings, and metal containers with closing tops should be used for potentially-flammable rags.
It’s best to avoid burning refuse, but if you must, do it at least 150 feet away from any buildings, bearing in mind that some regions have temporary or permanent burning bans in place for open fires, especially if nearby forest fires are currently blazing away.
Being aware of fire hazards and how to prevent them is one of the easiest ways to enhance the safety of construction sites, but many people remain uneducated about the best ways to minimize risks. If you’d like more information and tips on fire prevention in construction sites, get in touch with us today!