Every year many construction site workers are killed or injured because of their work, and many others suffer serious ill health. The hazards are not, however, restricted to people working on sites. Children and other members of the public are also killed or injured because construction activities have not been adequately controlled. The construction industry’s performance has steadily improved, but the rates of death, serious injury and ill health are still among the highest of all industries. Fire safety is a key risk that construction operations need to manage and control.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has updated its guidance on fire safety in construction HSG168. The third edition of the guidance was published this month and explains how everyone involved in construction projects can comply with their legal duties relating to fire risks. It is aimed at all those who procure, design, develop and manage construction sites, including clients and designers – it is relevant to all construction projects.
The main changes to this guidance relate to elimination, and or, reduction of fire risks at the pre-construction stage as required by the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The HSE has also added a glossary.
Each year there are estimated to be hundreds of fires on construction sites, potentially putting the lives of workers and members of the public at risk. Fire safety in construction is about eliminating fire risks during the design phase (where practicable), preventing fires from starting and ensuring people’s safety if they do.
This guidance does not reference the findings of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 because the fire did not occur while the building was being renovated or constructed.