Fire Safety on Construction Sites – Part Two

Fire Safety on Construction Sites – Part Two

26th June 2017

Last week, with the tragic fire at Grenfell House fresh in our minds, we published an article about fire safety on construction sites and gave some advice on the types of fire risk that we face when working on site.  The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 sets out the law on fire safety on construction sites, including escape from fire.  Under the CDM Regulations 2015, there is a legal obligation to prevent risk from fire by assessing the fire risk from site activities and taking precautions to control the following:

·Combustible materials – the quantity of combustible materials on site should be kept to a minimum and all such materials must be safety stored and used.

·Ignition sources – action must be taken to eliminate, reduce and control ignition sources on site.

At the conclusion of our article last week, we promised to publish another article this week which will take a closer look at ignition sources when it comes to fire safety on construction sites.  According to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it’s vital that action is taken to control ignition sources and this action should include:

·Hot Work – all hot work that generates heat, spark or flames can result in a fire and the precautions include:

o Clearing the area of any combustible materials

o The provision of suitable fire extinguishers

o Maintaining a careful watch for fire throughout the work being undertaken

o A permit to work (PTW) system which can help manage the risk on larger construction projects.

·Plant and Equipment – it’s vital to choose electrical and engine driven plant of suitable capacity to prevent overheating.  Lamps should be securely fastened to a solid backing and, if mounted on tripods, it’s essential to ensure that the tripod is stable.  Electrical equipment that is going to be used in flammable atmospheres must be suitable for the nature and extent of the flammable atmosphere.

·Electrical Installations – these should be of sufficient capacity for the intended use and should be designed, installed, inspected and maintained by competent people who have been fully trained to do this.

·Smoking – make sure that all workers and visitors to the site know the rules on smoking and ensure that these rules are enforced at all times.

·Bonfires – these should not normally be allowed on site at all.  Alternative arrangements for the proper disposal of rubbish and waste should be made.

Arson – there should be stringent measures in place to prevent unauthorised access to the site.  Sites with high fire loading or with a history of vandalism and arson will need additional security measures, such as lighting, out of hours security or CCTV.