Following a Fire Risk Assessment in Kent from the Fire Risk Assessment Network we discovered that fire is one of the greatest hazards and causes of injuries and fatalities on a construction site. There are a number of fire safety measures and standards that must be met to prevent these types of injuries.
1. Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers must be placed throughout the construction site. The extinguishers need to be easily accessible and all workers on the site need to be aware of the placement as well as receive training on how to operate the equipment. As the construction project progresses, additional fire extinguishers may need to be placed to meet with the required spacing and placement standards.
For long term construction projects, the fire extinguishers and other equipment need to be tested on a regular basis to ensure that they are in working order. If the equipment is not new, it should be tested before being placed on the site.
2. Other Fire Equipment
On some construction projects, additional fire equipment may be necessary to meet with the required standards. Fire proof clothing, masks and oxygen tanks may need to be made available.
3. Fire Alarms And Early Warning Systems
It is recommended to place fire alarms on and around the construction site. These early warning systems are are ideal for when workers are on site and during non-working hours to alert a designated person of a fire. These early warning systems can also directly contact emergency services or the local fire service.
4. Evacuation Procedure
As per any workplace, the employer at a construction site is required to put an evacuation plan in place and ensure that all workers are informed of the procedures to follow in the event of a fire. It is advisable to appoint a designated person or persons to manage the evacuation process in the event of a fire.
It is recommended that the evacuation plan and procedures are followed. It is essential that every employee understands that they should not try to eliminate the fire once evacuation proceedings have started. In the event that a person is injured or cannot evacuate for any reason, no other employee should attempt to assist them but rather inform the designated fire evacuation manager.
The fire evacuation manager should take a roll call to ensure that every person who should be accounted for is in the predetermined meeting area. Should any person not be accounted for, no-one should search for them and wait for emergency services. The fire manager should inquire as to whether that person was on site that day and where they might last have been seen.
5. Emergency Services
The site manager as well as the designated fire evacuation manager must have access to a phone to call emergency services or the fire service immediately when a fire starts or a fire cannot be quenched with the available fire equipment. When emergency services arrive, it is up to the designated person to inform them of the location of the fire, how the fire started and if any person or employee is unaccounted for.