When it comes to on-site construction, safety is always the most important priority. When you’re in an environment that’s inherently prone to risks, uncertainty, intensive on-site activity and stringent safety requirements, it’s crucial to make sure your business has a strong safety plan in place. In addition to avoiding injuries and hazards on the job site, having a fire safety plan will also help protect your company by ensuring that all employees know what they have to do in case of an emergency.
Unfortunately for many businesses, traditional paper-based fire safety plans aren’t always enough—and that’s where digitised solutions come into play.
What is a fire safety plan?
A fire safety plan is a document that outlines the steps you need to take to comply with fire safety regulations. It’s a written plan that describes how you will manage fire risks in your business or organisation, and it is a tool that helps you identify and manage your fire risks. A fire safety plan should be adapted so that it meets the specific needs of your business or organisation. The plan should also be reviewed regularly to ensure it is still fit for purpose.
Traditional vs digital fire safety plans – what’s the difference?
Traditional fire safety plans consist of printed documents that can be hard to update, and it may take time before the information is passed on to everyone who needs it. In contrast, digital plans are stored online in the cloud and can be accessed by everyone at any time, from any location needed.
Digital fire safety platforms are becoming more common in construction because they’re easier to keep up-to-date, easier to share with stakeholders, and are more secure.
How can I build a robust digital fire safety plan?
Building a robust digital fire safety plan starts with identifying and mitigating your fire risk. The first step is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the location and type of hazard, along with the likelihood of its occurrence. This will help you determine where to focus your efforts on improving security, based on the most likely threats in your system. Once you’ve identified areas for improvement, you can then develop a detailed fire safety plan based on those concerns.
1. Know your fire safety compliance requirements
It’s important to start by understanding the fire safety requirements for your business, building, state or province, and country before you begin the process of improving your fire plan. If you don’t have this information already, it’s time to get it!
2. Identify and mitigate potential site fire risks
Once you have a good idea of your fire risk, it’s time to take action. The first thing to do is identify ways to mitigate the risk by identifying and implementing the necessary means of prevention or protection. You can use fire safety software to automate this process, eliminating manual errors and streamlining your overall workflow.
For example, fire safety software platforms like PlanRadar allow you to incorporate construction fire safety procedures at your sites. To know more about how you can perform fire risk assessments and planning, you can try the app for free or contact us here.
Once you’ve identified all of the possible causes for each type of fire, it’s time to prioritise them based on their level of severity—and then develop plans according to those priorities!
3. Conduct a fire safety risk assessment
The third step of your digital fire safety plan involves conducting a fire safety risk assessment. It’s important to document all of the potential causes for each type of fire and how they can be prevented or mitigated.
A fire safety risk assessment is an audit of the elements that can increase the probability and impact of a workplace incident. The goal is to identify all possible hazards, from objects like rugs that could catch on fire and equipment like industrial ovens that might malfunction, to human behaviour like smoking indoors.
4. Develop a detailed fire safety plan
Your fire safety plan should be a detailed document that outlines all of your building’s assets and their corresponding vulnerabilities. It should also include:
- A floor-by-floor layout of the building that includes any locations where flammable materials are stored or used, including labs, kitchens, and closets.
- Information about each room such as its size, purpose, and occupancy load. This will help you see if any areas need special attention when it comes to fire prevention.
- A list of emergency exits with their exact location about the stairwells or other areas within the building. You’ll want to make sure you know where these exits are so you can get out quickly in the event of an emergency!
5. Schedule regular system maintenance and testing
Having a system in place to regularly test your digital fire safety plan is essential. It’s also important to know how often you should be testing each system, what the results of each test mean, and what steps you should take if there are problems with any of your systems.
To help ensure that all of your systems are working properly and that all updates have been applied, we recommend scheduling regular maintenance using digital fire safety software. This can be done by following these steps:
- Create a checklist with every step required for maintaining each system (e.g., reviewing files for changes and updating firewall rules).
- Schedule intervals for running tests on the checklist (e.g., quarterly).
- Test those items whose checklists need to be updated frequently or regularly throughout the year (e.g., review daily logs of file activity).
Keep in mind that your fire safety plan needs to be updated periodically. As such, it’s best to have a process in place for making the necessary changes—both large and small—to your fire safety plan as needed.
The future of fire safety is digital. With the right tools, construction companies can be more efficient in managing their compliance requirements, identifying and mitigating their fire risk, and creating detailed plans that will help them prepare for emergencies. If you are looking to get started with fire safety planning for your construction sites, you can start your 30-day free PlanRadar trial here.