Site Fire Risk Assessments
Construction sites always contain combustible materials and liquids as well as sources of ignition; these can and do cause fires. The best way to reduce the risk of fire is to carry out a risk assessment.
An experienced person should be appointed to carry out the fire risk assessments, as well as having the authority to oversee actions that arise from the assessment.
The risk assessment should consist of the following:-
Identify fire risk and sources of ignition, combustion and oxygen.
These would be materials such as timber, insulation, fuel storage, gas cylinders and paints or chemicals. The ignition sources for example could be smoking or sparks from hot works such as welding.
Evaluate risks and analyse the fire prevention and safety measures that you already have in place. These could be:
- Fire detection equipment, such as smoke alarms
- Firefighting equipment, such as hoses and extinguishers.
- Evacuation in the event of a fire, fire exits in offices and welfare facilities and escape ways within the structures being built.
- Fire safety training for employees, drills and toolbox talks.
- Evaluate who are at risk, including employees, local residents etc.
Write your risk assessment and steps that can be taken to reduce the risks:
Waste segregation, ensure closed waste skips for flammable items, and ensure that a registered waste carrier is used.
- Material storage (ensure flammable materials are stored separately onsite
Preferably in a secure fenced area.
- Fuel storage in bunded secure tanks manufactured for the purpose.
- No smoking on site.
- Hot works only carried out with a permit to work that includes arrangements for extinguishers.
- Designated walkways, appointment of fire marshals, fire escapes using fire escape doors, signage and tool box talks. Fire extinguishers should be located at identified fire points around the site; there should be adequate signage to indicate the fire point.
- The site extinguishers should be of the appropriate type to combat the nature of the potential fire:
- Wood, paper and cloth – water extinguisher;
- Flammable liquids – dry powder or foam extinguisher;
- Electrical – carbon dioxide (C02) extinguisher.