Few work environments pose a bigger fire hazard than a construction site. U.S. Fire Administration figures indicate that there are more than 4,800 construction site fires each year, resulting in approximately $35 million in property damage. Construction fires are difficult to contain for a wide variety of reasons, such as the high volume of flammable materials on the site and the absence of adequate fire protection systems.
Common Construction Site Fire Hazards
There are numerous potential construction site hazards that can cause a fire:
- Combustible materials: Most construction sites are filled with materials that can easily catch fire, such as liquid fuel, lumber and protective coverings for equipment. These types of fires can spread quickly and cause extensive damage in a short period of time.
- Electrical wiring: Faulty, exposed or improperly installed electrical wiring is a major fire hazard at many construction sites.
- Unattended heating units: The use of space heaters is common at many construction sites in colder climates. However, they pose a significant fire hazard if they’re left unattended or placed too close to flammable materials.
- Careless smoking: While there may be rules in place that prohibit smoking on a construction site, they don’t always prevent construction workers from smoking on the job. It only takes one carelessly discarded cigarette to ignite a deadly blaze.
- Arson: Many construction fires are intentionally set by vandals or disgruntled workers.
Construction Site Fire Safety Tips
While it may be impossible to eliminate all building site hazards that can cause a fire, there are a variety of preventive steps site managers and employees can take to minimize the risk. These include:
- Substituting flammable building materials with flame retardant products wherever possible
- Keeping the site free of discarded trash
- Strictly enforcing no smoking policies
- Restricting the use of space heaters in high-risk areas
- Properly training workers on safe work practices
- Storing combustible materials away from buildings that are under construction
- Ensuring all electrical work complies with all applicable fire and building codes
- Keeping all equipment in proper working order
- Placing fire extinguishers at individual work areas and ensuring workers know how to operate them
Taking Appropriate Security Measures
Tight security can help to prevent acts of vandalism and arson. Consider installing perimeter fencing around the site and all equipment and material storage areas. If hiring trained security personnel is not a practical alternative for your construction operation, a high-quality security system including strategically placed video cameras, motion detectors and access control devices can provide reliable around-the-clock site surveillance.
If you manage residential or commercial construction sites in the Phoenix, AZ area, Titan Alarm, Inc. can design and install an effective security system that will fully protect the property and give you peace of mind. We offer the most innovative site security products on the market, including IP cameras, access control systems and motion detection devices. We can also install a fire alarm system with 24/7 monitoring that ensures early detection if a fire breaks out. Contact us to schedule a no-obligation consultation today.