Critical Steps in Preventing Construction Fires

Construction sites present many hazards, but, with an ounce of care and prevention, workers can avoid most major accidents. Fires are one such example. Electrical and welding work, as well as loose debris, represent fire hazards on construction sites, and being prepared to manage them is an absolute must. Understanding the different types of fires and combating them is vital to construction site safety. However, avoiding a fire is preferable to dousing one.

Three Elements to Make a Fire

A fire cannot burn without three components: heat, fuel, and air. Welding equipment, cigarette butts, frayed wires, and more all provide a source of heat to ignite a fire. Fuel can come in many forms as well (i.e. liquids, gas, or solids). The most common are gasoline or propane, but scraps of paper or wood can act as a fuel source as well. The third component, air, is almost always present, and there is not much construction workers can do about it. However, there are several steps workers and supervisors can take to eliminate bringing all three elements together.

Preventing Fires

By removing one of the three elements, a fire cannot exist. Since workers cannot do much about air, they must focus their efforts on heat and fuel sources.

  1. Keep work areas clean. Eliminating debris eliminates a potential fuel source
  2. Obey all no smoking signs
  3. Store oil-soaked cloths in metal containers with lids
  4. Take pains to keep all flammable materials away from heat sources such as heaters
  5. Report all non-controllable fire risks such as exposed electrical wires

Construction site supervisors should discuss fire safety with their workers as well as provide the appropriate training on all fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers. While the goal should be to eliminate hazards, it is not always possible to remove all sources of risk on a construction site. The Reilly Group can help your construction business identify areas of exposure and develop a plan to mitigate them. To learn more about construction safety, contact us today.