Construction sites deal with many hazards throughout their duration. Among the most dangerous hazards are fire incidents which can cause significant property damage, injuries, and fatalities.
Just in the previous year, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) reported 13k fire incidents around the country. If we are not careful, our construction sites might be put on this growing list for the current and future years.
For that reason, let us find out what are the most common fire hazards in construction sites and ways how you can prevent them.
Most construction sites are filled with flammable materials such as liquid fuel, lumber, paints, and other light materials that can easily catch on fire. Once ignited, these materials can spread the flames quickly and cause extensive damage, injuries, and fatalities in a brief span of time.
To keep everyone and everything safe from fire incidents, all flammable materials should be used and stored with care. To do this, designate safe storage locations outside the main site and limit the number of flammable materials you bring inside. That way, fire damage could be easier to mitigate and control in case a fire happens.
Faulty electrical connections, poor/damaged wire quality and electrical overloading are some of the most common causes of fire incidents in the country. If not careful, these electric malpractices can cause hot melting wire, sparks, or electric discharges, which can ignite nearby flammable materials or electrocute personnel.
In construction sites, it is important to inspect wires for damage, avoid overloading, practice cable management, and practice care when using electric devices such as power tools to avoid property damage and loss of human life.
Lack of Fire Protection
The faster you can put out fires, the smaller the damage they will cause. While it is not 100% avoidable, fire damage can be easily mitigated when you have fire protection systems installed or fire protection equipment distributed around the site.
The lack of these materials is a significant fire hazard. A construction site with sprinklers, fire extinguishers, or standpipes will be readier to put out flames before causing significant damage.
Fire drills and fire safety plans can further increase the chances of killing the fire while it is still small and manageable while also keeping people safe.
Smoking or improper disposal of cigarette butts are significant fire hazards. Active embers can ignite flammable and light materials in construction sites.
To keep construction sites safe from fire incidents, strict no-smoking policies must be put in place for all personnel on-site. You can, however, designate safe smoking areas outside to prevent risks.
Careless waste disposal, placement and storage of flammable and light materials, smoking, use of electric devices, and other irresponsible practices pose a significant threat to the site and the people in it.
Be strict in implementing rules, policies, and practices for all personnel inside the construction site.
Poorly secured construction sites are at risk of theft, vandalism, and arson. Placing a layered security such as perimeter controls, fencing, lighting, security cameras, intrusion detection systems, and guards on duty after hours will help reduce the risk of letting unauthorized personnel with ill intentions in.
Fire hazards can cause significant property damage, injuries, and loss of human life. Recognizing these hazards and becoming ready to address them will help keep fire incidents away and keep construction sites a safer workplace.
- Caliwan, C. (2022, December 28). BFP records 13K fire incidents for 2022. Philippine News Agency. https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1191573
- Protecting Against Common Fire Risks During Construction. (n.d.). Travelers Insurance. https://www.travelers.com/resources/business-industries/construction/protecting-against-common-fire-risks-during-construction#:~:text=All%20flammable%20and%20combustible%20liquids,and%20designate%20safe%20storage%20locations.
- Fire Prevention on Construction Sites – Titan Alarm. (n.d.). https://titanalarm.com/fire-prevention-on-construction-sites/
- How do electrical fires start and how can they be prevented? (n.d.). Creative Safety Supply. https://www.creativesafetysupply.com/qa/electrical-safety/electrical-fire-safety#:~:text=Unfortunately%2C%20these%20cords%20typically%20run,can%20result%20in%20a%20fire.
- FIRE PREVENTION – TOP CAUSE OF FIRES IN THE PHILIPPINES – FAULTY ELECTRICAL CONNECTIONS – ELECTRICAL SAFETY. (n.d.). https://www.phelpsdodge.com.ph/updates/article/top-cause-of-fires-in-the-philippines