Safety Tips

Construction Fires

Fires in Construction

There are fire hazards on all worksites. Fire safety practices, fire brigade training, proper fire fighting equipment, and good fire fighting techniques are all part of the "fight against fire" on the jobsite.

Play it Safe

Check your workplace for fire hazards. You and your co-workers can best play it safe by co-operating with each other and with the fire department. When a fire occurs, your best protection will be to follow emergency response plans, established escape routes, and knowledge of extinguishing methods.

Don't Add Fuel to the Fire

Every workplace has different materials, chemicals, and even hazardous materials that can create fires. Be sure you know which fire extinguisher is best for the type of fire. If you don't know, then clear the area and let the fire department do the work. Many fires require specialized fire fighting gear, chemicals or techniques. Water is the best agent for fighting ordinary Class 'A' (combustible) fires, but it is NOT appropriate in many situations.

You Need to Know More

You need to know type(s) of fires may likely occur in your area for jobsite and what type of extinguisher to use.

Classification of Fires

Class 'A' fires that occur in combustible materials such as paper, wood, straw and cloth
Class 'B' fires that involve flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil and grease
Class 'C' fires that occur in electrical equipment

Common causes of fires at various worksites include:

Poor housekeeping - many worksites have piles of materials, old paint cans, rags and garbage
Poorly stored materials inside or outside of a storage area - especially flammable liquids or gases
Smoking in non-smoking areas
Sparks from welding, cutting, or grinding
Defective electrical cords

Be sure that fire safety plans include the use of protective clothing and devices such as self-contained breathing apparatus or fire retardant coveralls. Know your gear - know the plan.

Protection and Prevention

Taking precautions against fire is one of the most basic safety efforts you can be involved in. Prevention and protection go hand-in-hand. Check this list for prevention and protection procedures:

Fire exits should be clear of obstructions and properly marked
Only smoke in designated smoking areas
Ensure all doors are clear of obstructions and are easy to open
Have an effective fire alarm system
Have regular fire drills
Keep fire doors closed
Handle and store flammable liquids according to safe storage procedures
Make sure all fire fighting equipment is in the right location and that you know how to use it
Know necessary first aid procedures
Check to see that proper extinguishers are on hand and inspected regularly

Fire Safety at Home

You can take your fire safety procedures home with you. Your family will appreciate it. Check to make sure you have reviewed the following with your family:

Emergency procedures, including escape routes
Fire prevention in the home including good housekeeping
Fire drill procedures; practice once a month, especially with young children
Have a family smoking policy; either no smoking or provide proper ashtrays
Safety of the children; are they trained to escape from fires in your home, garage, or yard?
Are your extinguishers working and accessible?
Make your own safety checklist. Review it with your family. Every few months go over it again to see what may be missing.

Your professional attitude from the workplace will help your family take fire safety seriously.

Summary

Production quotas, jobs, and lives are at stake in the "fight against fire". The best tool in the fight is planning. Prevention of fires, training of personnel, recognition of fire hazards, and safe operating procedures are all part of the solution. Proper emergency procedures can reduce damages, save lives, and keep everyone on the job. Join the fire safety "team" in your work area.

For more information, refer to current applicable Occupational Health and Safety Legislation.