Fire Extinguishers

Fire is a threat on many construction sites, especially where open flames, flammable products, and flammable materials are used.

Welding, flame cutting, and thermal roofing are obvious examples. But fire hazards are connected with many paints, solvents, and adhesives as well.

The construction regulation says that every worker who may be required to use a fire extinguisher must be trained in its use.

Fire extinguishers on construction sites must be
• accessible
• inspected regularly
• promptly refilled after use.

Extinguishers should be located
• where flammable materials are stored, handled, or used
• where temporary oil or gas fired equipment is being used
• where welding or open flame cutting is being done
• on each floor of an enclosed building being constructed or renovated
• in shops for at least every 325 square meters (2,400 square feet) of floor area.

Fire extinguishers are classified according to their capacity to fight specific kinds of fire.
Class A – for fires in ordinary combustible materials such as wood and paper where you need a quenching, cooling effect.
Class B – for flammable liquid and gas fires such as oil, gasoline, paint, and grease where you need
oxygen exclusion or flame interruption.
Class C – for fires involving electrical wiring and equipment where you need a non-conductive extinguishing agent.
Class D – for fires in combustible metals such as sodium, magnesium, and potassium.

For most construction operations, a 4A40BC extinguisher will do the job.

Once you’ve discharged an extinguisher, report it immediately to your supervisor.
Extinguishers have a very short duration of discharge—usually less than 60 seconds. Within that limited duration, you’ve got to use the extinguisher effectively.