There is a number of work activities on building sites that have the potential to set off fires. That is why it is necessary for the appropriate fire fighting equipment and fire protection to be available on the site.
The first step in ensuring that workers on site are prepared for fires is to identify and assess the hazards that may cause a fire. If these hazards cannot be eliminated, they must be controlled to avoid a fire. Even if there are appropriate control measures in place, the appropriate fire fighting facilities should still be provided as a last line of defence. These facilities will be determined by the hazards.
According to legislation, those in charge of the worksite must ensure that there are portable fire extinguishers provided and installed at all workplaces.
One of the concerns that some employers often face is, which fire protection and equipment to choose and where it should be located on the site and in proximity of the hazard. The type of fire extinguishers selected will depend on the hazards identified. For example if there is a risk of an electrical fire breaking out, it is necessary for a carbon dioxide (C02) extinguisher to be provided on the site to put out the fire.
Fire prevention on the work site can actually be aided by following a few safety tips include good housekeeping by removing waste materials and accumulated dust on a regular basis (because these present a fire hazard), keeping flammable materials in a place where the is no risk of them causing a fire and by utilising the correct warning signs wherever necessary.
Choosing the right equipment for the job need not be a complicated task despite the various options available. Here are some tips on choosing the right fire equipment for the job:
1. Water Fire Extinguisher:
If a hazard has been identified which poses the risk of wood, paper, textile or rubbish fire breaking out, then a water extinguisher is the way to go.
2. Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher:
This extinguisher is suitable for when fires occurs involving live electrical appliances such as switchboards, electric motors and electronic equipment. These extinguishers can also be used on smaller flammable liquid fires induced by petrol, paint or solvents commonly found on a construction site.
3. Foam Fire Extinguishers:
A foam fire extinguisher is designed to be used on flammable liquids such as petrol, paint and solvents. These aren’t suitable for use on electrical fires.
4. Powder Type Fire Extinguisher:
This type of extinguisher is available in a variety of powders to cover a wide range of risks. Dry chemical powder is extremely effective when used to extinguish flammable liquid and energised electrical equipment
According to Australian legislation it is recommended that fire mains and/or fire hose reels be available for the fire fighting purposes as the building progresses. Fire blankets are also an option and are suitable for stove top fires usually caused by cooking oils.