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Fire safety survey

More than a third of workers are using the wrong type of fire extinguisher on an electrical fire, according to a recent survey carried out by a manufacturer of fire protection equipment. Bull Products says that it carried out a fire safety survey to address the issues within the construction industry, and what companies could do more of to ensure workers are protected to health and safety standards.

The survey was rolled out across the UK with responses from a range of jobs including health and safety managers, health and safety officers, site managers and supervisors.

The survey found that more than a tenth would use a foam extinguisher to put out an electrical fire, while over 27pc would use an ABC powder fire extinguisher – which although isn’t wrong, could cause excessive damage to equipment that may be unaffected by the fire itself.

Bradley Markham, director at Bull Products says: “Each year, there are 40,000 fires in the workplace, which can put the lives of workers at risk but using the wrong type of fire extinguisher can also have major consequences. Not only can it maximise the spread of a fire, it can cause major damage to a site and equipment, thus costing companies millions of pounds to repair the damage. On an electrical fire, a C02 fire extinguisher is the safest option as it leaves no residue and is an ideal solution for extinguishing fires involving electrical appliances as it does not cause damage to the site.

“Using the correct fire safety equipment is of utmost importance, and it’s crucial that health and safety managers train workers so that everyone on site is aware and understand what type of fire extinguishers to use and in what situation.”

Colour coded blue, ABC powder extinguishers, or dry powder extinguishers are multi-purpose extinguishers that can fight Class A, B, and C fires – solids, flammable liquids and flammable gases. They should not be used in small confined spaces where there is a risk of inhaling the powder.

Foam extinguishers are suitable for areas involving paper, wood, cloth, or plastic, and flammable liquids including paraffin, petrol, and oil. They work by smothering the fire with a foam film, starving the fire of oxygen whilst also cooling the burning materials. Although foam extinguishers are safe for use with electrical equipment, the equipment will be damaged by the liquid.

The survey also found that about one in 12, 8pc of people were not confident knowing which fire extinguisher to use, and 7pc of people said they did not know there was a universal colour-coded system for fire extinguishers. Visit www.bullproducts.co.uk.


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