Construction Risk: Protecting Work Sites From Fire
Many potential risks exist on construction sites, such as fire, theft and water, all of which can cause significant property damage that can impact project timelines, budgets and employees’ health. Buildings under construction have greater potential for significant damage from fire, especially before fire suppression systems are installed and operational, but there are a few ways to keep burning risks at a minimum.
Following these guidelines can help reduce the risk of fires on-site:
- Correctly use hot work equipment. Many construction fires are caused by improper uses of torches for cutting, soldering, roof work, blazing and welding. A formal, written hot work permit system with all trades and subcontractors should always be enforced, based on the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes.
- Prevent smoking on-site. Careless smoking is the leading cause of fires. Reduce the chance of fire by prohibiting smoking inside any building and outside the vicinity of combustible materials and fuel storage. “No Smoking” signs should be posted at all points of entry, and they should be strictly enforced.
- Provide fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers are the first line of defence against fire on a construction site. Fire extinguishers that are suitable for the conditions and hazards should be mounted, and everyone on-site should know how to use them.
- Follow proper housekeeping practices. Waste materials and garbage on-site can be fire hazards. Do not allow rubbish to accumulate within buildings or in the immediate vicinity. All trash and waste should be removed from the premises daily, and dumpsters should be kept a safe distance away.