The Denver fire department responded to a major construction site fire in Denver, Colorado, on March 7, 2018. The incident took the life of two, and the impact was such that around 40 vehicles melted from the radiance. This is one of the few incidents in the United States that has placed fire safety codes and standards in the limelight and the importance of accountability when it comes to fire safety during property construction.
Creating the fire safety codes and standards involves collecting previous relevant insight and forecasting in terms of site security and risk prevention. This post highlights the fire safety codes and standards pertinent to different property construction, renovation, or demolition stakeholders.
Fire safety manager responsibilities
An onsite fire safety manager is accountable for the following fire prevention/safety measures:
- Ensuring all the employees attain proper training hours in handling fire protection equipment
- Coordinating with the local Fire Department to formulate a comprehensive fire safety plan
- Supervising all hot works and ensuring the high standard fire protection devices on site
- Conducing fire drills for the property occupants and the employees
- Weekly inspection with a plan to remove any potential fire hazards on site
- A fire program manager should always be clear-cut regarding fire department access points onsite and the location of fire extinguishers and other emergency fire prevention equipment.
While the management is accountable for the maintenance and work establishment, there are certain things that employees have to bear in mind when it comes to onsite fire safety.
Wear Personal Protective Equipment: workers should make it a point to wear protective equipment, including High vis vests, head & fall protection gears, safety goggles, and harnesses onsite.
Report defects or near misses: identifying defects with daily equipment or machines and reporting them to the management immediately should be a priority.
Avoid clutter: ensuring the worksite is clean of debris and other waste materials is how each worker can contribute towards the overall fire prevention measures onsite.
Prevent equipment tampering: understanding the defect with equipment and trying not to force the use of defective equipment is also critical for preventing fire accidents.
Always consider electrical safety: Even though the site safety supervisor or manager will have their eyes on this potential hazard, it is ideal for the employees to keep an eye out for the following electrical hazards.
- Grounding all power transmission lines
- Insulating all electrical products
- De energizing idle heavy equipment
- Testing all extensions regularly to prevent chances of overloading
- Testing the environmental conditions where the equipment are used (e.g., checking for dampness or dust/debris)
Worksite visitors also play a critical role in fire safety or fire prevention on worksites.
Some of the visitor’s worksite responsibilities include:
- Wear appropriate PPE, including hard hats, stout boots, safety vests, and goggles
- Staying visible and alert
- Being aware of the surrounding
- Never approach any machinery without proper acknowledgment
- Ensuring not to block fire department access while parking
Ensuring fire safety without a doubt is a joined effort; each member has to contribute in their way. Thinking ahead and sticking to a well-formulated fire safety plan is crucial for keeping any potential fire concern at bay.