Fire safety

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) report recommends improvements in fire safety training

All onsite construction staff and those with site responsibility should receive specific fire safety training to help limit or mitigate the damage caused by fires on future construction or restoration projects, according to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS)

That’s one of the main recommendations in the service’s report on the Glasgow School of Art fire at the Mackintosh Building in 2018, which highlights several lessons for stakeholders to help reduce the risk of fires in the future while a building is under construction.

Key findings

The report notes that, ‘when construction work is underway, there is little doubt that buildings are at greater risk of significant damage should a fire start,’ adding that the fire safety training provided should be enhanced as the building’s vulnerability changes as construction work is carried out. Buildings can become ‘more vulnerable’ to fire during construction and restoration because passive and active fire precautions are affected by the work. 

The report recommends that management teams with a responsibility for delivering construction or renovation projects should also ensure that ‘they fully consider the risk of fire’ during the early planning stages of the project.  

To support early risk identification, the SFRS argues that robust fire assessment principles should be considered and adopted during the design, plan and building stages, and this should use existing fire safety guidance, legislation and regulations where appropriate. 

Comprehensive assessments crucial

The SFRS adds that, once construction work begins, a comprehensive fire risk assessment (FRA), undertaken by a competent person, should identify suitable and sufficient control measures and ensure they are implemented to mitigate fire risks. The FRA should be continuously reviewed, and the control measures periodically evaluated – any new, emerging or changing hazards and risks should be dealt with through the FRA process, and any further mitigating actions and/or control measures identified should be implemented as soon as is practicable. 

Aegis can assist organisations with fire safety on construction projects in a number of ways.  We offer the IOSH Fire Safety for Managers course and can carry out FRAs on projects using our wealth of experience.

Contact our team to find out more about the ways we can support you in improving your fire safety procedures and becoming a safer business.