The 6.5 million construction workers who work on 252,000 worksites each day suffer a rate of injuries, sickness and deaths that are higher than most other occupations in this country. On-site fires are among the most serious of these construction site injuries.
The National Fire Protection Association issued grim national statistics for each year between 2010 and 2014. There were 3,750 fires in structures undergoing construction; 2,560 fires in structures going through major renovations; and, 2,130 fires involving structures undergoing demolition.
Thirteen people died in these fires which also caused 132 injuries. Direct property damage was $310 million. Heaters, welding, cutting, grinding and the accumulation of construction materials or cardboard were the major causes of these fires.
Sadly, these fires could have been prevented or their impacts diminished in many cases. But the high concentration of manual work, tight delivery timescales, more complex building programs and penalties for late or unsatisfactory work can push safety and prevention aside.
There are ways to help extinguish this problem. First, alarm systems that are easy to install with a powerful and long-distance signal may alert everyone on the construction site. These should also be mobile, strong enough to withstand the physical rigors of the construction site and have a delay to allow managers determine whether there is a false alarm.
Wireless systems should also provide touch of a button notification of a fire, medical emergency, gas leak flooding or other emergency. These also need to provide the location of the emergency.
Finally, detectors should be installed that can detect fires during off-hours. These devices need to create and store data for investigation of any emergency for insurance and legal reasons.
These accidents can cause serious and long-lasting injuries and death. An attorney can help obtain evidence and file a timely lawsuit for compensation.