I was reminded of a similar incident earlier in the year when a fire broke out on a Sydney building site and almost caused the collapse of their construction crane which would have caused substantial damage to the surrounding buildings.
Fire can be a serious hazard on construction projects. Usually during construction the firefighting and smoke detection systems aren’t functioning, so the fires are only detected when it is too late and then they are difficult to contain. Furthermore access to the affected areas may be difficult because stairways aren’t completed. The fires often spread quickly because of the additional fuel load created by stored materials, adhesives and other flammable items. In addition fire walls and fire doors aren’t fully installed meaning the fire can spread rapidly.
To prevent fires:
1. reduce and control the amount of combustible materials in an area by:
a. ensuring waste material is cleared off site as soon as possible
b. keeping the site neat and tidy
c. stacking materials properly clear of work areas
d. storing flammable liquids in suitable containers in special enclosures
2. hot work must only be done in safe conditions, by trained personnel
3. place fire extinguishers at readily accessible locations, and have them checked, serviced and replaced as required, ensuring staff are trained in their use
4. where projects are located in vegetated areas personnel must be aware of the fire risks, keep plant growth away from offices and work areas (be aware vegetation can often grow back quickly), maintain fire breaks and plan escape routes
5. smoking should be restricted to designated areas