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    Help and Advice 5 Common Causes of Fire on Construction Sites

    5 Common Causes of Fire on Construction Sites

    The combination of ignition and fuel sources on construction sites make them very high-risk areas for fire breakouts. Not only can this cause major damage to materials on site and delays to project deadlines, but it can pose a serious threat to life.

    Read on to learn more about the 5 common causes of fire on construction sites, and how these can be prevented to lower the risk and create a safer working environment.

    5 common causes of fire on constructions sites

     

    1. Flammable materials

    These days, most companies use flame retardant materials where they can to avoid any potential fire hazards. That said, scaffolding, roof coverings and waste can fuel the flames should a fire break out nearby. Not only that, but the added presence of combustible fuels and sparks from electrical equipment make a recipe for disaster.

    Prevention: Keep the siteclear. There should be a designated area for waste located far away from any ignition sources. Make sure fuels are safely kept away from electrical work as sparks can travel a distance. Rubbish should not be disposed of in a self-made bonfire, as it can very quickly get out of control.

     

    2. Flawed fire protection measures

    Statistics collated by the Home Office from 2014 – 2019 show that 62.5% of construction site fires were accidental. Reasons for this include:

    • Gaps in training
    • No safe storage of flammable materials
    • Blocked evacuation routes
    • Incorrect extinguishers available for the type of fire most likely to break out on site

    Prevention: Compliance and training are key to limiting human error. It is the duty of the site’s safety manager or designated ‘responsible person’ to ensure all fire safety measures, guidelines and standards are adhered to. They must make sure all fire protection equipment is regularly maintained, and that a comprehensive fire risk assessment is carried out at the site to lower the risk of fire.

     

    3. Arson

    Unfortunately, arson is a major risk at construction sites due to the availability of ignition and fuel sources. While the reasoning behind this criminal act isn’t always clear, there are measures that can be put in place to reduce the risk of it happening at your construction site.

    Prevention: Stay vigilant and secure your premises. This may seem obvious, but many sites fall victim to arsonists due to their lack of security. There are plenty of options afforded to you, including motion detectors, perimeter fences, cameras and manned guards.

     

    4. Power sources

    From removing old wires or installing new electrical fittings to powering generators and cordless tools, there are plenty of opportunities for electrical faults to occur on a construction site if the correct measures aren’t in place.

    Prevention: Quality control. Any electrical installations must be thoroughly inspected and undergo PAT testing in accordance with relevant regulations. When it comes to general housekeeping, employees must make sure that all power tools and sockets are switched off when not in use, and any faulty equipment must be removed from the site immediately.

     

    5. Cooking

    It goes without saying that all employees must have breaks and are welcome to eat at the premises. However, cooking on a construction site must be controlled to prevent a fire from accidentally breaking out.

    Prevention: Leave cooking items at home. Employees must not bring their own grills, hot plates or microwaves to the site. Instead, a designated cooking area needs to be created that is convenient for workers to use, but is not anywhere near combustible or flammable materials. All cooking equipment stored here must be PAT tested and an automatic fire detection device must be installed.

    5 common causes of fire on constructions sites

     

    With lots of different activities taking place on a construction site, all precautions should be taken to ensure that the premises and employees are protected. That’s where City Fire Protection can help. We provide a wide range of services throughout Birmingham and London, including fire risk assessments, fire safety training, PAT testing and much more. We tailor our approach to suit different sectors, from construction to education.

    Why wait? Give us a call today to discuss your requirements.

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