Work site fires aren't just a danger to your crew, they are also expensive in terms of destroyed materials and lost work. Training your crew on site fire safety and then providing the materials they need to implement this training is the key to preventing a disaster. The following tips can help.

Tip #1: Keep a Clean Site

Trash on the construction site provides little more than fuel for flames. Make sure you have enough dumpsters on site and that they are being used. If there are flammable materials, provide a separate container for their disposal that is flame-proof. The work site should also be a non-smoking area.

Tip #2: Manage Electrical Systems

Electrical systems, especially temporary power poles, must be kept clear of debris and placed well away from flammable objects, such as chemical or paint cabinets. Power cords also shouldn't be stretched across the work site, especially in areas where they can be cut by the use of other equipment.

Tip #3: Monitor Heat Sources

Temporary heaters can be used on construction sites as long as they are in an occupied and monitored area, and are turned off when know one is around. Another overlooked heat source is high-intensity lighting, which is generally used on night projects or as a security feature. This means it may not be monitored. In this case, make sure the lights are located in an area away from combustible materials.

Tip #4: Perform End-Of-Day Fire Checks

Once work is completed for the day, at least one worker must act as designated safety inspector. Their job is to perform fire checks for at least an hour after work is completed and all equipment is put away. They will check for hazards, such as un-monitored heaters or equipment that wasn't turned off properly, along with ensuring that there are no smoldering hot spots in work areas with high fire danger.

Tip #5: Implement a Suppression System

Fire suppression systems need to be located and clearly marked throughout the work site, and all workers need to be trained in their use. You will need to make sure the suppression canisters you have are suitable for your use. For example, the suppression systems used for wood fires, such as around a saw table, would be different than those needed for chemical fires. Everything should be clearly labeled so a worker under stress can easily grab the correct suppression canister. Suppression sites should also be equipped with an automatic alarm, and everyone needs to be trained on site evacuation procedures.

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