by Lori Riddle
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Dominion Tank Fire WV WDTVFire safety is paramount on all job sites. For us, working conditions in and around field erected tanks often include many fire hazards, including welding machines, electrical wires, chemicals, and even extreme heat. Our jobsites are varied, from power plants and chemical processing plants to bulk liquid storage terminals and biofuels processing operations. Every site has its own unique fire hazards.

According to OSHA, fires and explosions accounted for 3% of the 5,657 workplace fatalities in 2007. That's 169 fire-related fatalities in one year. In 2012, there were 3,945 workplace fatalities. That's a signifcantly lower number, but still 3,945 too many. Of the fatalites in 2012, OSHA violations related to eletrical wiring, component and equipment were the 5th leading cause of death. Violations related to the control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) were the 7th leading cause of deaths. Both are possible sources of jobsite fires.

In our business and across the construction industry, fire is just one of the hazards we face. However, most fires are a result of inattention to the jobsite operations and surrounding conditions. This lack of attention or protection can result in the loss of life and property. Many fires can be easily extinguished if caught soon enough and the proper extinguishing tools are handy. As with most hazards on the job site, or around the home, taking steps toward prevention and preparedness can go along toward reducing the danger of fire. 

Know the Following:

  • The local Fire Department phone number.

  • Where you are - be familiar with the nearest cross street(s) to give the Fire Department directions.

  • Where the fire extinguishers are and how to use them.

  • How to evacuate the work area. OSHA's Evacuation Planning Tool is a good resource for more information.

  • Your responsibilities as the Fire Attendant or other crew member

Take Steps to Prevent Fires:

  • Regularly inspect all fire extinguishers.

  • Keep the work area free of debris and trash.

  • Designate high risk areas as “no smoking” areas.

  • ENFORCE no smoking rules.

  • Check temporary wiring and electrical tools for defects.

Manage Flammable Materials

  • Make sure all applicable OSHA HazCom info is posted & available

  • Are flammable liquids and gasses clearly identified?

  • Are gas cylinders properly stored, secured and segregated?

  • Are heat sources properly removed from combustibles?

  • Is ventilation adequate anyplace where flammables are stored or used?

When a Fire Starts:

  • Sound an alarm – yell if necessary, and don't hesitate.

  • Warn everyone who might possibly be affected by the fire.

  • If possible and the fire is small, try to extinguish it.

  • Call the Fire Department if the fire can’t be easily and quickly extinguished.

  • On a large site, direct the Fire Department to the area of the fire.

Above all, PLAN and PREPARE for Fire Safety!

Find more fire safety information, prevention tips and discussion ideas for your team at OSHA.gov and Toolboxtopics.com


Free ghs hazcom standards guide

Construction Safety fire safety tank construction

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