The HSE estimates that there are 11 construction fires every day, which can cost the industry over £1 million each day.
According to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, employers are legally required to provide information, instruction and awareness to employees about fire precautions in the workplace.
The compliance team at Bull Products, a manufacturer of life-saving fire protection equipment, shares its guide for fire safety awareness and those all-important points to cover with your employees.
- The common causes of a fire – Many construction sites play host to numerous examples of the three elements required to start a blaze: a source of ignition, a source of oxygen, and a source of fuel. Fires in these particular environments can cause damage to materials, delay projects and put workers’ lives at risk. Although many construction companies now utilise flame retardant materials, there are still certain scaffold or roof coverings that are particularly hazardous and can cause greater damage. Therefore, it is important that the common causes of a fire, along with the dangers highlighted in your site risk assessment, are clearly communicated to workers.
- Good housekeeping – Following good housekeeping is crucial to fire prevention therefore your fire safety awareness should cover the key hazards that workers need to be aware of. This includes keeping heating and electrical equipment clean, using and storing chemicals safely and clearing clutter which contributes to fires such as paper, aerosols and flammable liquids.
- The use of fire protection equipment and prevention – The correct use of fire protection equipment is crucial and could mean the difference between life and death. Fire alarms, extinguishers, blankets and signage are all vital products to have on site. It is important that workers are trained on how to use the equipment and know which piece of equipment to use to reduce the risk on site.
- Choosing and using a fire extinguisher – According to our recent survey, more than 38% of workers are using the wrong fire extinguisher on an electrical fire, while 10% would use a foam extinguisher to put out an electrical fire. One of the most important pieces of fire safety equipment you can have on site is a fire extinguisher but using the wrong fire extinguisher can not only maximise the spread of a fire, it can cause major damage to a site and equipment, thus costing companies millions of pounds to repair the damage.
- Emergency evacuation plan in the event of a fire – Fire and smoke spread fast and could leave people trapped in dangerous, inescapable locations if an evacuation plan is not in place.
A fire evacuation strategy ensures employees and fire wardens are aware of what actions they should take if they discover a fire.
According to HSE, quick and effective action may help to ease the situation and reduce the consequences. However, in emergencies people are more likely to respond reliably if they:
- are well trained and competent
- take part in regular and realistic practice
- have clearly agreed, recorded and rehearsed plans, actions and responsibilities.
For more information, contact Bull on 01432 371 170 or visit www.bullproducts.co.uk