In addition to energized electrical equipment (such as generators, power tools, power lines, etc.) there are many sources/materials regularly encountered in the construction industry that pose fire hazards.  They can be flammable, combustible or explosive and can be solids, liquids or gas (ex. sawdust, wood chips, paper, plastics, cleaning solvents, gasoline, etc.).

A fire will start whenever any flammable or combustible material (referred to as ‘fuel’) comes in contact with an ignition source (referred to as ‘heat’) while in the presence of an oxidizer, such as ‘oxygen’ thus causing a ‘chain reaction’.  The ignition source (i.e., ‘heat’) could be something as simple as a spark, static electricity, furnaces, welding, cigarettes, heating elements, open flame etc. The fire will continue as long as the four ingredients (‘fuel’, ‘heat’, ‘oxygen’ and ‘chain reaction’) are present, and may or may not result in an explosion.

Fires can start and spread quickly and the type of fire hazards can vary considerably so it’s important to have fire prevention, detection and control systems that are appropriate for the type and location of work being done.

For a toolbox talk that will help you get thinking and talking about ways to prevent and control fires click here.