The National Fire Protection Association’s Fire Prevention Week is October 8-14 and offers a good opportunity to review fire prevention plans and promote fire safety on construction sites.
With hazards such as combustible materials, exposed wiring and unstable structures, construction sites are especially vulnerable to the threat of fire. Small or large, construction fires put both workers and bystanders in significant danger and can also cause major property and financial loss for everyone involved in a project.
This year’s theme for Fire Prevention Week is “Every Second Counts.” Even if your fire prevention plan is comprehensive and well documented, it will prove useless if your workers aren’t trained to execute the appropriate procedures within the first critical seconds of a fire and held accountable throughout the project’s duration.
While every job site requires a customized plan that addresses its unique fire hazards, here are some key areas of concern that each plan should consider:
1. Smoking – Carelessly discarded cigarette butts pose a significant fire hazard. Enforce job site smoking policies and clearly identify smoking and non-smoking areas.
2. Heating equipment – Keep heating units away from hazardous areas and make sure workers never leave them unattended.
3. Electrical and lighting systems – Installation and maintenance of temporary electrical and lighting systems should be done by qualified electricians only and inspected frequently for defects and performance.
4. Fire protection systems and equipment – Fire extinguishers and other protective equipment should be clearly marked and easily accessible by workers. Ensure all workers are well trained on where to find and how to use fire protection equipment.
5. Flammable and combustible materials – Train workers on how to use, store and discard flammable and combustible materials and inspect your job site regularly to ensure compliance.
6. Good housekeeping – Your workers should already be doing this as part of your overall safety plan. However, good housekeeping policies can be especially helpful in preventing fires caused by trash and debris.
With enough planning, training and diligence, you can prevent fires and keep your construction site safe for everyone. For more information, visit the National Fire Protection Association website or contact CORE Safety Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.