Tackling Fire Safety on Your Construction Site

A fire risk assessment is likely to be one of many the site manager must complete and keep on top of. It is a requirement of legislation for the responsible person (employer or persons in charge) to ensure a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment is complete.

This is something which needs carrying out for any premises which are non-domestic. And when you hire 5 or more members of staff, you must have a written record of this. However, it’s still a good idea if you don’t as it acts as proof that you’re fulfilling your duties.

It is necessary to review the risk assessment regularly to account for any changes which may have occurred. You may find this is something you have to complete as your construction site evolves.

New fire hazards can present themselves as the people plying their trade, and machinery, changes. And as the plans rise up from the ground, it’s possible that evacuation routes and assembly points will have to change.

Keeping on top of this means you’re one step ahead and can help to prevent a fire before the issue arises.

The Risks

A fire needs three elements to burn. Oxygen, heat and fuel.

Removing one or more of those elements stop a fire from starting, and will also mean a fire cannot continue to burn.

The first job of a fire risk assessment is to identify these potential sources of ignition and fuel and reduce their potential to cause harm.

Next, you identify the people who are most at risk if there is a fire, and you really do need to consider everyone. Contractors, visitors, security staff, young people, disabled people, those in nearby premises, and a lot more besides.

You must consider all the people who use your site or could potentially become affected should something go wrong.

Taking Action

Taking into account everything you found, you then evaluate, remove and reduce the fire risk, and have measures in place to protection individuals.

For example, this may involve making changes to the storage of equipment, tools, and materials. But it will also involve putting procedures in place to help keep everyone protected, such as a method of fire detection and warning.

You will need to ensure you have measures in place for raising the alarm, whether that’s using site alarms, a rotary bell or gas horn. And you mustn’t forget to have fire extinguishers installed at designated fire points which can be grabbed quickly to prevent a small fire from escalating quickly. It’s best to have water for general fires, foams for flammable liquids, and CO2 for electricals.

And when hot works are carried out, like welding or soldering, ensure the area is clear of combustible materials and that you have an appropriate fire extinguisher nearby.

Record, Plan, Train and Review

It’s good practice to then record your findings and actions taken. Then, with a plan in place, stating evacuation routes, assembly points, and who call the fire service, it is a good idea to ensure everyone is aware of what they should do in the event of an emergency. This may include how to use the fire extinguishing equipment you will have provided.

Plus, after selecting a few people who can take on fire warden duties, they will also need additional training. They will assist in the event of an emergency and also help you to keep on top of your fire safety responsibilities. After all, the more people you have keeping an eye on fire safety, the better-equipped everyone is to prevent one.

Just remember to make sure your fire risk assessment is kept up to date.

To find out more information about fire risk assessments and fire safety equipment for construction sites, visit www.fireprotectiononline.co.uk/site-safety


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