Construction sites are often very vulnerable to fires. There is electrical wiring, cutting tools, welding equipment, high heat equipment as well as multiple subcontractors on the same site at the same time. There are some rules in place to prevent activities that cause fires but, these can be difficult to enforce as shown by recent construction fires. There exists the option to have a temporary fire sprinkler system in place during construction but, the question is always, when to have it installed and how do we keep it from being damaged while construction continues.
Here are some of the top causes of construction site accidents.
- Outdoor Cooking on the Construction site with the use of grills, fire pits, microwaves and camping stoves. According to NFPA, cooking equipment catching fire is responsible for 27% of construction fires—more than any other cause.
- Portable heaters that are not safety approved. Onsite heaters cause the second most number of fires on construction sites (according to NFPA). Small, portable heaters should be site safety director-approved and UL listed.
- Lack of supervision of “Hot Equpment and Tools” This work includes soldering, grinding, and welding, where the equipment remains hot after the work has been completed. It’s not just the lingering heat that can cause a spark, the equipment itself is combustible if a fire does start.
- Smoking – No explanation needed. Some states have made it illegal to smoke on a construction site.
- Mismanagement of Flammable Material storage, communication about the location of flammable material and the lack of labeling and warning signs regarding the flammable material can cause explosion and bodily harm.
- Power Supply Accidents. There may be temporary electrical service set up for the build as well as numerous cordless tools and equipment that run on lithium-ion batteries (which have been known to combust). Any onsite electrical power supply should be up to code and maintained regularly. Battery charging stations should be located outside the main building but, set up in a safe place with consideration to the type of batteries being used.
- Arson – Intentional fires can be fairly common on jobsites. Arson happens in the course of theft or simply as an act of vandalism. Having multiple security cameras set up along with lighting, fencing, security guards and motion detectors can help detour an arsonist.
- Incomplete Fire Protection – In a building under construction, sprinklers, fire alarms, fire walls, and other fire protective equipment may not yet be installed although, we at Maverick can consult with you to ensure you have it installed when the time is right. We can also install the fire safety systems in the completed building. Having a multitude of fire extinguishers in various places gives personnel a chance to put out a fire before it gets out of control sometimes.
- Lack of Training – Often times a construction site has various sub-contractors present, making it difficult to train, educate and enforce fire safety practices while at the same time getting the construction project done correctly and on time. We at Maverick can offer regular training and inspection of your construction site in the Houston Metro Area to help reduce the risk of fire overall as well as work on plans for fire safety for your building once completed.
There was an average of 3,840 fires per year in buildings under construction (about 10 per day) between 2013 and 2017, according to the 2019 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Here is the link to our data about the number of construction fires:
If you need more reasons to protect your construction project, here is Bob Duvall, Senior Fire Investigator for the NFPA to tell you more.
Give us a call or email us to reduce fire risk from day 1 of your construction project. Your employees, investors, insurance company and most of all your family will thank you.
Phone Number: (832) 653-2598