Fire incidents at construction sites are common. In 2019, Fire Safety Matters reported more than 400 fire incidents at construction sites in the UK. The good news is – loss of life on construction sites due to fire is uncommon. The bad news is – fire incidents lead to enormous losses for construction companies in terms of damage to property and resources and injuries to workers. To protect your construction site from fires, invest in good quality construction site fire points, and adopt best practices of Fire Safety.
What is a Construction Site Fire Point?
A construction site fire point is a designated spot for fire fighting equipment. It is highlighted by red-colored signboards that read “Fire Point” so that people can identify it from a distance in case of a fire emergency. The fire fighting equipment includes fire extinguishers, alarm systems, fire hoses, and first aid kits. The idea is to make these types of equipment easily accessible in the event of a fire. The cause of fires can be deliberate or accidental. Irrespective of the origin of fires, you should identify and allocate fire points on your construction site.
How Prone is Your Construction Site to a Fire Incident?
In 2018-19, Fire and Rescue Services attended 182,825 fires in the UK. According to Construction UK, the fire incidents at construction sites have increased by 9.6% in the last five years. This increase also reflected a higher number of deliberate fires, i.e., the motive of these fires was intentional. Construction News reported a 43% increase in deliberate fires on construction sites between 2015-17. According to them, the cost of fire and explosion claims for commercial property insurers was £945m in 2017. As evident, construction sites carry a high risk of loss by fire accidents. Therefore, as a site manager or construction company owner, you should ensure the safety of your site and your workers.
Four Reasons Why Fire Point is Important For Your Construction Site
Would you rather try to control a blaze or prevent a fire in the first place? A fire point aims to prevent and fight a fire. It is essential for your construction site as it helps to:
- Comply With Laws and Guidance – Vetting your construction site for fire safety isn’t optional. In the UK, the laws and guidelines for safety in the construction industry include The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005), The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, HSE Fire Safety Guidelines for Construction Sites, and The Fire Protection Association Joint Code of Practice. These guidelines require you to safeguard your construction site with appropriate fire fighting equipment and fire point signage.
- Prevent Huge Losses – The construction industry in the UK has already reported millions of pounds of losses. A construction site fire point helps to prevent monetary losses and serious injuries if located as per the guidelines. You can avoid a disaster if people can find a fire point at the right time. Therefore, the visibility of a fire point is non-negotiable.
- Reduce Risk of Resources – In 2018-19, FRSs attended 163,039 fires and reported an increase in the number of fatalities. Even five years ago, there were more than 20,000 fires incidents in commercial buildings in the UK. Given the situation, it makes sense for construction sites to take safety precautions. Fire points reduce risk not just for employees or visitors on the site, but also for completed construction and building tools, materials, and machinery.
- Cover Your Site With Insurance – Insurance companies provide coverage for your construction sites and materials during procurement, design, and construction stage. However, they will cover your site only if you comply with the latest guidelines, laws, and codes of conduct. Fire safety points and other safety measures will help in compliance. Thus, insurance companies will successfully cover your site and accept your claims.
Having fire points at your construction site is vital for the safety of your employees and resources.
How to Adopt Best Practices of Fire Safety
Before you adopt the best practices of fire safety, it is crucial to understand the placement of fire point signs and equipment. One quick way to check the positioning is to stand in different parts of the room/site and see if you can see the signs. The signs should be visible from every corner. You might have to place additional signs and consider different font sizes.
- Construction Site Planning – Before you start construction, spend considerable time in planning your construction site. Minimize the risk of fire by investing in the appropriate design of the site. Identify possible risks and hazards that can start a fire. If possible, use non-flammable materials and methods. Ensure nothing blocks smoke. Next, eliminate your risk by using the necessary safety equipment. Make sure everyone can access the safety equipment if needed.
- Fire Safety Plan – Design a detailed plan for fire safety. Make sure everyone working on your construction site understands this plan. Appoint a trained team of professionals or train some of the employees working on the site. Have a warning system in place to inform people in case anything goes wrong. Include a reliable alarm system in your fire point. Additionally, guidelines require you to dedicate an assembly point and to layout your fire escape routes. The assemble point should be easily accessible, and escape routes should be clear of any obstruction 24/7.
- Equipment – Electrical equipment can start a fire. Remove faulty equipment from the site. Vehicles and heavy equipment should not have any leakage. Similarly, design a system for disposing of waste material regularly. Items such as packaging materials, disposed-off tin, and plastic, waste wood, etc., can prove dangerous on the site. Storage material should be stored away from the fire escape route. Take extra care in case of flammable liquids and flammable gas cylinders. Store flammable liquids separately, and mark them, so everyone is aware of their nature.
- Hot Work – Hot work caused one-fifth of fires in the construction industry in England last year. Flying sparks from hot works such as welding pose a threat for starting a fire. In some cases, you might need a special permit to carry out hot work. Don’t perform hot work around flammable material. Also, make sure your employees wear safety gear as hot work can damage eyes and skin.
Adopt best practices to reduce the risk of fires on your construction site substantially.
Fire Safety Systems by Firecore Secure (FCS)
Fire Core Secure specializes in fire safety on construction sites and is well known for its excellent service. They offer 24/7 security guards for construction sites as well as a vast range of fire safety equipment and services. For instance, they provide various options of fire extinguisher trolleys, fire point with wireless fire alarm, and fire evacuation alarm system. They offer fire safety services on both temporary and long-term contracts, across single and multiple sites, and have been serving their clients all across the UK for over a decade.
Still don’t know how to proceed? Get a free quote and initial consultation from FCS.
A fire breakout on construction sites can lead to loss of life, property, infrastructure, and delay in the delivery of the project. Moreover, you can reap benefits from insurance only if you comply to fire safety guidelines and laws. Therefore, it is essential to have construction site fire points in place. These fire points will help you to prevent and fight fires. You have to make sure that fire point signs are visible and easily accessible. Design your construction site per the guidelines and minimize the risk of fire. Have a fire safety plan in place and take extra care with risky equipment.