The construction industry has greatly advanced over thepast decades, injury, death rates, and ill health of constructionworkers has declined. When these construction activities are not well supervised and controlled, they put workers, children, members of the public and the adjacent property at risk. The riskis very high in an event of a massive fire enough to spread off-site. Fires do cause serious human suffering, injure, kill andcauses financial loss. Fire is a potential danger in mostconstruction sites. It is most likely to occur in high-risk activitiessuch as hot work where fire can occur and spread quickly andescape may be difficult.
However, fire safety measures at construction sites, should be managed and applied at the earliest stages of design andprocuring process. The standards should address the safety of the workers and the neighbors to the site. Some proposals andmethods may be rejected based on the consequences of a fireincident. Some of the measures may not be effective, forinstance, minor welding at an oil refinery site may causecatastrophic consequences if care is not taken. The contractorsand property managers should ensure the fire preventionmeasures are adopted to ensure a very low risk of a fire incident.
To avoid any fire occurrence, there are certain necessarysteps that need to be taken. First, identify the hazards, proximityto other buildings, construction materials, and methods. Three things are required for fire to start; source of ignition, fuel, andoxygen. If one these things are missing, the chances of a fire are minimal or zero. The sources of ignition include cigarettes, naked flames, electrical fault, arsonists, friction, or staticelectricity. On the other hand, fuel is anything that can burn if oxygen is freely available in the air. Second, identify the peopleat risk, that is, the site workers, people who are not familiar with the site and members of the public nearby. You should payattention to all those people involved in your site, and if thebuilding is undergoing renovation, one should consider theoccupants of the building.
In the case of a fire break out the local fire rescue will attend to your site. The contractors and managers should assessand prepare an emergency plan and the challenges thefirefighters might go through in your site. Third, identify, reduceand protect the risk of fire. Remove hazards and if they cannot be moved, take reasonable steps to reduce them. In addition, forthe safety of the workers there should be emergency route to escape and methods of fire mitigation such as fire detections andsuppressors.
In an occurrence of a fire, the incident should be recorded, the risk, the cause and the actions taken. Ensure there is a clearsafety plan and make sure that the persons involved know whatto do in an event of a firebreak out. There should also be regularcheck in case of changes on the site. The escape plan should alsobe in place, the escape routes should be available andunobstructed. After a fire incident, people should assemble at a common place to be accounted for and identify anyone who may be missing (Fire Safety in Construction, 2010). One of the mostimportant aspects of a fire escape is provision of signs, which makes people familiar with the escape routes. Lighting is alsoessential in the dark places of a construction site. There should also be a way of alerting people such as the use of fire alarms, whistle or horn. The warning sound should be recognizable andaudible to everyone. The fire extinguishers should be located in specified areas to help avert a possible fire event before itspreads.
Fire safety in construction. (2010). Guidance for clients, designers and those managing and carrying out construction work involving significant fire risks. Health and Safety Executive, 5-90.