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Fire Safety On Site

Hazard Related Topics


New fire safety rules affecting all non-domestic premises in England and Wales came into force on 1 October 2006.

The Communities and Local Government web site has information on the updates. You may be interested in "The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005" on the Office of Public Sector Information web site.

The construction phase of any project is the most hazardous in terms of the risk of fire. Measures which should be taken to inhibit or reduce the risk are as follows:

Emergency measures

Ensure adequate water supplies are available at all times and fire hydrants are clear of obstruction. A means of warning of fire should be installed and be audible above background noises. Fire Instruction and Fire Escape route signs should be displayed and such routes and also access routes for the Fire Service kept clear at all times. Fire fighting equipment should be sited in prominent positions near exits and should be clearly marked and sign posted. They should be stocked with sufficient numbers of extinguishers of the right types, staff should be trained in their use and they should be regularly inspected and maintained.

Where they are designed in the building under construction the earliest opportunity should be taken to install fire dampers, fire stoppers, escape stairs, automatic sprinkler systems, hose reels and fire protection for steelwork.


All vulnerable areas of the site should be enclosed and lit by security lighting as a minimum requirement. The site should be checked for hazards approximately 1 hour after work has stopped for the day.

Storage of Flammable Liquids and LPG

Quantities of more than 50 litres of flammable liquids should be stored in a purpose built compound. Lesser amounts should be kept in a fire resistant cupboard or bin. Such storage areas should be at least 10 metres from permanent or temporary buildings, should display the correct signs and have suitable extinguishers provided at the entrance. It is important to keep cylinders of oxygen, chlorine and similar containers separately.

Hot Work

Areas to be used for hot work should be cleared of combustible materials before work commences and wooden floors etc. covered. Gas cylinders should be fastened vertically and be fitted with flashback arresters. Screening should be used when welding or grinding and a careful watch maintained with suitable fire extinguishers to hand. Tar boilers should be supervised by an experienced operative and should not be taken onto roofs. All hot work areas should be inspected about an hour after work ends.

Temporary accommodation

Typical precautions to take when installing such buildings are:

  • Ensure building is 10 metres from nearest structure, or, if less than 6 metres ensure it is constructed of materials which will not contribute to the growth of any fire.
  • Should it be necessary to site the accommodation inside the structure ensure escape is easy and access for the Fire Services available.
  • Should the floor of the building be raised then the space beneath should be enclosed.
  • Heaters should have guards and be fixed to the walls, cookers should be properly installed and adequate ventilation provided, furniture and fixtures and fittings should not be of synthetic materials.
  • If the building is fitted with clothes drying heaters then these should be fixed to the walls and be thermostatically controlled with enclosed elements. Where provided drying racks should be fixed at a safe distance.

Electricity and Gas supplies

Electrical installations should conform to the Institution of Electrical Engineer's Regulations for Electrical Installations, be undertaken by competent electricians and inspected and tested regularly. All circuits, except those used for security purposes, should be turned off at night. Gas supplies should be fitted by a CORGI registered gas fitter and only fixed piping or armoured flexible tubing should be used. flexible links used for LPG supplies should only be connected by a competent person.


Fuel tanks should not be filled whilst the engine is running and plant with internal combustion engines should be kept in well ventilated, non combustible enclosures. Compressors should be positioned away from other plant. All air intakes should be positioned to take in air that is cool and free from flammable gases and vapours.

Waste material

The burning of waste material should be absolutely banned. Such materials should be stored away from buildings until removed from the site. Metal bins with lids should be provided for oily waste.

Relevant Legislation