Fires are one of the most-common hazards on construction sites with more than 4,800 construction site fires each year. This leads to approximately $35 million in property damage and with the high volume of flammable materials on site and absence of adequate care protection, construction site fires are difficult to contain.
The National Fire Protection Association reports from 2010 to 2015, firefighters responded to more than 10 fires a day at buildings under construction in the United States.
Fires during construction can spread rapidly especially if sprinklers have not yet been installed or if there are combustible materials present. Often times, if walls are not completed these void spaces can create a wind tunnel effect causing the fire to expand. Firefighters may not be able to enter unfinished buildings safely if there are unprotected stairwells or have other dangerous conditions on site.
There are numerous hazards that can cause a fire on a construction site including:
- Combustible materials such as liquid fuel, lumber and protective coverings for equipment
- Faulty or improperly installed electrical wiring
- Unattended heating units
- Cigarette smoking on the job site
- Hot work (welding, grinding, soldering, etc.)
- Lack of fire protection
Here are some tips you and your employees can follow to minimize the risks of fire hazards on the job site
- Substitute flammable building materials with flame retardant products
- Keep the site clean and free of garbage and don’t let waste materials build up on site
- Do not dispose of garbage by burning it
- Having no smoking policies that are strictly enforced
- Restrict the use of space heaters
- Properly train your staff on safe work practices and run through emergency procedures
- Store combustible materials away from buildings that are under construction
- Ensure that all electrical work complies with fire and building codes
- Keep all equipment in proper working order
- Have fire extinguishers on site and educate your workers on how to use them
- Develop an evacuation plan and escape routes
- Permit cooking on site (no hot plates, microwave ovens, grills)
- Make sure electric systems are installed only by a skilled electrician
- High-Intensity lights should be visible, firmly fixed and not placed near flammable materials
By following these safety tips on the job site, you can reduce fire risks during construction. Frontier Industrial Corporation implements proper fire safety precautions with our staff and executes trainings to help prevent any hazards during construction.