Building projects are massive undertakings with lots of stakeholders from the property owners to the workers themselves. Successful completion is a must. This can be a challenge given the large number of elements that make up the whole enterprise. Of all the things that can go wrong, none is more destructive than a fire outbreak.
Site managers must make construction fire safety a top priority. There should be a detailed plan to address this even before anything is erected on the ground. Once the project gets underway, continuous monitoring is required to ensure compliance. The following can serve as a guide:
Identify the Fire Hazards
The first step is to list down the potential sources of fire. Unfortunately, there are plenty of flammable materials used in construction. Some are able to ignite flames such as electrical equipment and smokers. Excessive friction between two surfaces may also produce sparks.
Other substances may serve as fuel once a fire starts such as liquefied petroleum gas or LPGs. The site should also be wary of packaging materials, equipment fuel, and other flammable liquids. Certain types of wood may also get consumed. Using fire-resistant options is preferable.
Isolate Dangerous Substances
Note the entry, exit, usage, and storage of these substances. Whenever possible, isolate them from the rest of materials. Store them in a place with limited access to prevent accidents due to misuse and improper handling. Only those who are knowledgeable should be allowed near them.
This isolation also limits their effects on the construction project in case a fire does erupt. If they are sufficiently far from the rest of the vital elements, then the flames should result in insignificant damage. Workers will also be safe from harm. Special equipment can be installed around the perimeter of the storage area to put out the fire immediately.
Minimise Risk Around the Construction Site
Other precautionary measures can be put in place to minimize the risk within the premises. For instance, there should be zero tolerance for smoking especially in areas near flammable materials. Cigarette butts must be disposed properly. Welding and grinding spots should be cleared of any clutter. Workers must use the appropriate protective gear and follow all safety protocols.
Dust is produced in huge quantities around building sites. There should be a designated person for their continuous collection and disposal. Other debris such as fallen dry leaves and branches must be gathered to avoid build-up. Electrical tools and equipment have to be checked as well. Wear and tear on these items could be dangerous.
Deploy Fire Safety Equipment
A complete line of fire safety equipment must be accessible in case of a breakout. These include fire hoses, fire blankets, and different types of fire extinguishers. Contrary to popular belief, there is no single formula for putting out flames. The kind required will depend on the cause. Due to the variety of the materials found in these places, it’s good to be ready for any eventuality.
Water fire extinguishers can be used if the flames are mainly feeding on paper, wood, textile, and common waste materials. Foam fire extinguishers, on the other hand, work well for flammable liquids like those discussed above. Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are commonly deployed when the fires reach electrical appliances. The versatile powder-type fire extinguisher can be used for both electrical equipment and flammable liquids.
Train All Personnel for Construction Fire Safety
Finally, be sure to train everyone working on the site regarding construction fire safety methods and principles. It should be clear to each worker how they can contribute to the success of the initiative. They are more likely to follow the rules if they understand why these are being implemented.