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ALARM BELLS SOUND ON CONSTRUCTION FIRE RISKS

HSE targets inadequate fire precautions and anticipates further action

Major construction site fires are ‘low probability/high consequence’ events which have rarely led to human disaster on a scale feared. 

However, recent spectacular fires, particularly on timber-framed structures, has raised the profile of fire risk across all projects.     

The HSE Construction Division Plan for 2010/11 states that:

“we will ensure that fire precautions – both process and general fire precautions are in place. Particular attention will be given to fire precautions on timber frame structures, and multi-storey or part occupied premises”

Enforcement increased considerably

A recently published summary of HSE construction sector work confirms that the construction division ‘enforcement profile’ on fire safety has increased.

Examination of the the HSE Enforcement database shows almost 200 enforcement notices issued by construction inspectors on fire matters during 2010 (at 17/08/2010)

New guidance expected

The out of print HSE guidance Fire in Construction (HSG168) is being updated in consultation with industry and other key stakeholders and is due to be published in the autumn of 2010.

Meanwhile, the accepted guide to fire safety is: Fire Prevention on Construction Sites: The Joint Code of Practice on the Protection from Fire of Construction Sites and Buildings Undergoing Renovation 7th edition published by The Fire Protection Association.

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