Construction sites contain a host of unique fire risks and dangers that are not found in other workplaces, making fire safety training for the construction industry more important than ever. There are risks from hot work, such as welding and grinding, as well as potential hazards from heavy machinery, chemicals, electrical installations and sparks from routine building work. Fire safety training for the building industry can be accessed at three levels to help you to meet your statutory obligations, enhance the safety of your workforce and keep your project safe and on track without avoidable delays:
General fire awareness training for construction workers to reduce general fire risks in and around the site
Fire warden training for construction sites to help appointed staff act proactively and reactively in line with your fire policy
Hot work passport training for those involved in high risk tasks to reduce the very real fire risks from such activities
Construction site fire wardens
Health and safety are naturally at the heart of any building project, with a wealth of statutory regulations to protect workers on site. These include the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and its equivalents in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Under this order, employers, or site managers, are obliged to appoint a ‘sufficient’ and ‘adequate’ number of fire marshals or fire wardens, to ensure that fire safety protocols are observed and that the site can be effectively evacuated in the event of an emergency.
The number of fire wardens required will depend on the number of staff on site, the layout of the site and the nature of the construction work being undertaken. Employers or site managers are required to conduct a fire risk assessment of the workplace to help them decide how many fire wardens are needed for fire-safe operation.
On site fire warden training
Given the unique nature of construction sites, it is highly advantageous to arrange for fire warden training on site, rather than in a remote classroom or training centre. This allows the trainers to identify any site-specific risks and tailor the training accordingly, while still covering the core elements of the course. This type of training is also much more convenient and cost effective for site managers as it reduces the impact of training time on important delivery deadlines.
Hot work passport training
While not strictly compulsory, hot work passport training is widely regarded as essential for certain workers in the construction industry. This includes anyone working with naked flames, tar boilers, blowtorches, cutting or grinding equipment or any other source of heat, spark or flame. Hot works passport training for the building industry covers the full scope of hot works, from effective preparation to reduce potential fire risks, through the safety of work itself, and on into post-work precautions to check for any slow burning ignition sources that are not immediately obvious.
Hot work passport training must be delivered by an approved training body. It defines responsibility for fire safety and so indicates liability in the event of a fire. Although it is not a legal requirement on UK building sites at present, it is still a legal document that is recognised by both the HSE and the building industry, and many sites insist on the qualification from any staff they hire.