Reducing Ignition Sources on Construction Sites

Any construction site is vulnerable to fire outbreaks because of building materials and other combustible materials stored on the site. This can put the lives of the people on-site in danger. So, it is of utmost importance to identify the potential ignition sources on the worksite and try and reduce them where possible.


Any open area that has been designated as a smoking area must be low-risk fire area which is located away from flammable and combustible materials. Designated smoking areas should have metal ashtrays with sand.

All workers and visitors on the worksite must be educated about the smoking rules. Proper signage must be put up in common or high-risk areas like worksite access points, canteens, etc.

Plant and Equipment

The equipment on the worksite should be suitable for the particular task and proper attention should be given to where the equipment should be located. For example, you can use a small generator in a well-ventilated, open area where there are no non-combustible materials, but not in a closed space, a basement or an unprotected, framed structure made of a combustible material like timber.

You should take adequate precautions when storing any plant and equipment with respect to fire risk. Equipment must be chosen such that it does not get overheated when in use, especially if the conditions are dusty.

All the equipment on the worksite must be maintained properly and in case the area is very dusty, intakes and air filters must be cleaned regularly. The air intakes must be positioned in such a way that the air used is free from flammable vapours and gases.

The equipment must not be operated or refuelled in a closed area. You should not refuel equipment in escape areas or on scaffolds. Any refuelling must be done in a well-ventilated area or in the open air away from any ignition sources.

Using portable generators that are fuelled by petrol in partly enclosed areas or indoors as a power source for lighting, heating or to run any other equipment can be hazardous to health and can even cause death due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Avoid using equipment that produces exhaust fumes such as chainsaws, pressure washers, floor polishers, disc cutters, etc. indoors.

Temporary lights, if broken or damaged, can easily become sources of ignition. Lamps must be fastened securely. Make sure halogen lamps, heaters, etc. are placed in safe places so that they do not ignite any flammable material nearby.

Protect the equipment especially when used in places which have LPG, storage areas with highly flammable liquids or HFLs, spray painting or laying floors with HFLs. If any explosions occur, the worksite should be categorised into hazardous zones and adequate safeguards must be used in such zones.

Taking adequate precautions is a very good thing and can reduce the risk of fire to a very large extent. However, in the case that there is a fire outbreak due to the several ignition sources present on the worksite, Cygnus fire alarm and fire protection systems are state-of-the-art products that are the ultimate in reliability and performance and can help in safeguarding your construction site.