Changes for Safety
With increased awareness of new construction safety and the need for more regulation and code enforcement, the updated 2022 edition of NFPA 241 includes changes intended to ease the implementation of the standard. One of the core changes to this standard, “allows for sprinkler systems temporarily installed in buildings under construction to not comply with NFPA codes and standards—namely, NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems.” The reason for this update is to have some sort of fire protection should a fire occur during construction. Expediting dry sprinkler system installation will be an important change. It is important to note this system should be considered temporary; it’s necessary to follow up and ensure the sprinkler system is brought up to code as needed.
Other proposed changes to the standard include the expansion of building-specific requirements to 17 (current requirement is eight) to the fire prevention program, or FPP, and the fire prevention program manager, or FPPM.
A data sheet released by The National Safety Council, “Fire Prevention and Control on Construction Sites,” outlines several ways construction companies and business/building owners can prevent construction fires. The most important is having a fire protection plan in place before the project even begins. Implementation of this plan is essential for fire prevention.
The National Safety Council suggests that responsibilities are laid out within the plan and that the plan is shared with all contractors and subcontractors. Some details of this plan may include how/where to store flammable and combustible liquids, where to store surplus materials/supplies, and the location of any containers necessary for the proper disposal of flammable materials. Fire prevention inspections should be conducted by the assigned person responsible for fire prevention. A copy of periodic inspection reports should be given to project management.
The National Safety Council has provided a fact sheet as a helpful resource:
Other ways to prevent or lessen your chances of fire while your building is under construction is to have ways to fight the type of fires that may occur. This means equipping teams with working fire extinguishers that are intended for the types of fires you’d likely encounter on a work site. For example, Class C extinguishers are intended to extinguish fires involving electrical equipment while Class B extinguishers are designed for combustible or flammable liquids. And make sure anyone on the worksite has been trained in how to use a portable fire extinguisher.