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Date PostedAugust 16, 2012

White Card Update: Construction Worker Burned on Site

An incident that occurred on an American construction site is a startling reminder of the danger of burns that construction workers are exposed to. The incident took place last Thursday when construction workers were preparing to place concrete in a driveway using a skid loader. The burn victim caught on fire after becoming drenched in gasoline. Thankfully the worker survived with just 20 per cent burns to his body, it could have been much worse but co-workers managed to hose him down with water.

This is what the post in Cumberlink.com had to say:

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A man was burned over nearly 20 per cent of his body in a construction accident at Spring Gardens Estates in South Middleton Township on Thursday morning.

According to South Middleton Township Emergency Services Administrator Ron Hamilton, the incident occurred shortly before 9:30 a.m. and involved a piece of construction equipment.

He said workers were using a skid-loader in the first block of Spring Garden Estates, preparing to place concrete in a driveway along the curbing. At the time, a worker smelled gas coming from the machine, which wasn’t running, and attempted to take the lid off of the gas tank to relieve the pressure.

When he did that, the lid “blew off” of the tank and shot gasoline onto the victim, who was “soaked,” according to Hamilton.

He said that shortly thereafter, an ignition source, possibly a hot muffler or other parts of the machine, lit the spilled gas as workers were using the loader.

The driver, who was the man who was sprayed earlier, then caught fire due to his gas-soaked clothing, Hamilton said.

Co-workers managed to find a garden hose and hosed him off.

“He was lucky that was around,” Hamilton said.

According to Hamilton, paramedics with Cumberland Goodwill EMS reported that the man was burned over 20 per cent of his body, and, as a precaution, he was flown via Life Lion to Johns Hopkins Burn Center in Baltimore.

The Union Fire Company arrived and quickly doused the remaining flames using foam, Hamilton said.

The name of the man was not released.

Read more: http://cumberlink.com/news/local/man-burned-in-construction-accident-in-south-middleton-township/article_c8a4912a-e298-11e1-b835-001a4bcf887a.html

On construction sites there are a variety of ways that fires can occur and pose a huge hazard to workers. From electrical fires caused by machinery to gasoline fires like the one in the post, hazards on building sites abound. Fires on construction sites can cause mass destruction and loss of life. All workers should be trained on fire safety and take responsibility to ensure that fire risks are minimised. Workers should not engage in wreakless activities that may cause a fire.

The site should be kept clean and clutter free. Equipment should be put away in their correct place. Also workers should be trained on workplace health and safety best practice when carrying out tasks that present a potential fire hazard.  Workers should keep in mind that in order for a fire to occur, a chemical reaction is required. This chemical reaction involves an ignition source (heat),  Fuel (can be gas like in the post discussed above, flammable liquid or timber) and Oxygen.

Different fires can be extinguished differently and there are more than just one kind of fire extinguisher.  The first method is Starvation of the fire by removing the fuel from the fire. Smothering of the fire by remove the oxygen from the fire can be done by throwing a fire blanket over or the third method, cooling is to remove the heat or ignition source from the fire. The last method is to inhibit the chemical reaction by removing any chemical reaction that is fuelling the fire.

All sites will have an emergency fire extinguisher on site but call emergency services and the fire department as soon as a fire breaks out.

Fire extinguishers will act to either remove or inhibit one of the factors that contribute to the fire. So a water extinguisher removes heat and a dry chemical extinguisher removes the oxygen from a flammable liquid fire. CO2 extinguishers remove oxygen and also result in cooling of the fire.

On a construction site you may not have the luxury of time so by simply throwing some loose soil or sand over the fire may extinguish it or douse it a little.

Posted by Steven Asnicar

 

Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks. Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.

Posted in General Construction Tagged with: , , , ,

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