The month of October is dedicated to Fire Protection Month. Neumann Brothers’ Safety Manager, James Machamer, shares some basics for reducing fire risks on the jobsite.
Fire Protection Basics
Fire protection on construction projects begins with proper planning. From project start to closeout, basic housekeeping measures become essential to reducing the risk of fire.
- Properly store flammable materials (this becomes more necessary in the winter months as temporary heaters are added to jobsites)
- Regularly clean up and remove debris
- Keep walkways clear at all times
Hot Work Permits
Before any sparking or flame producing work begins, ensure you have the proper Hot Work Permits in place. According to OSHA, hot work is any work that involves “riveting, welding, flame cutting, or other fire or spark-producing operations.” Hot Work Permits are required as hot work is most frequently related to fire and explosion hazards. Before beginning this type of work:
- Be aware of all flammable vapors and combustible materials and remove any hazards from the area
- Have appropriate fire extinguishing equipment nearby
- Always assign a properly trained fire watch
A fire watch is a simple but incredibly important role when hot work is being completed. The fire watch should be trained in fire extinguisher use and should have an extinguisher in their possession while hot work is being performed. They must also know where and how to sound the fire alarm and must be on guard for one hour after the hot work is completed to detect and extinguish any fire that may be smoldering.
OSHA requires that no less than a 2A fire extinguisher be accessible for every 3,000 square feet of protected building. OSHA also requires that a worker should not have to travel more than 100 feet to access an extinguisher.
The types of fire extinguishers available are:
- Class A – Ordinary combustibles
- Class B – Flammable liquids
- Class C – Electrical appliances
- Class D – Combustible metals
- Class E – Flammable gases
Remember P-A-S-S when using a fire extinguisher:
- Pull the pin
- Aim at the base of the fire
- Squeeze the trigger
- Sweep side to side