Every year there are dozens of fires on construction sites. They are always unfortunate occurrences and there are multiple reasons why a fire may occur. While the construction industry is trying its best to improve conditions for workers, there is clearly always a drive to ensure that fires are kept to an absolute minimum.
According to the Home Office, there were 365 fires in England in 2018/19. This is clearly 365 too many. That is why everybody in the construction industry needs to do its part to reverse this number and make construction sites as safe a place to work as possible.
Minimising the risk of fire is clearly paramount not just to protect operatives, but the public as well. Whether that be residents in high-rise buildings, passers-by walking past a building facade, or anybody else.
So what can be done to minimise fire risk?
One method of reducing the risk of fire on construction sites could lie in the use of mast climbing, rather than scaffolding.
Three reasons why mast climbers should be used over scaffolding
Mast climbers use a motorised platform that is attached to one or more vertical masts. These are fixed to a building, and the platform can be raised or lowered as required.
Scaffolding is a temporary platform that provides support and elevation to construction and maintenance workers. It usually consists of a series of tubes and fittings that form a lattice structure on the side of a building.
There are three core reasons why mast climbers can reduce the risk of fire over scaffolding:
- Scaffolding uses sheeting, which the Health and Safety Executive say can act as one of the most common fuels on construction sites. Mast climbers do not require sheeting
- Scaffolding requires the use of wooden boards. While fire retardant boards and sheeting are available, they are more expensive, which means they are not always used. Mast climbers are made out of metal - a non-flammable material
- Mast climbers use a low volume of equipment on the building facade. Meanwhile, scaffolding covers the outside of a building in layers of equipment that could be flammable. The taller a building is, the more scaffolding is required, which is not the case for mast climbers
Just through these three reasons, we can see that mast climbers provide fewer headaches when it comes to where a potential fire hazard can come from.
BFT’s fire safety considerations
According to the CWPR (Center for Construction Research and Training) Recommendations for the Safe Use of Mast Climbing Work Platforms, employers should have a fire protection program in place. This includes use of an all-purpose fire extinguisher at all times.
These are the sorts of guidelines that BFT always strictly adhere to.
We take our role in terms of fire safety extremely seriously at BFT. That is why we have recently invested £250,000 in a new training facility.
Ensuring that our staff are fully trained in the latest IPAF-accredited courses allows us to be fully aware of the risks of fire on construction sites. We use this knowledge practically every day.
We are passionate about reducing the risk of fire on construction sites, and we believe MCWPs are the way forward. This is why mast climbing offers such a perfect alternative to traditional scaffolding.
Call BFT today
BFT are proud to provide industry-leading mast climbing services for building access across the UK.
You can rely on safe, efficient access to building facades that give great value for money.
Get in touch with us today to book our services.