As outdoor temperatures drop in the winter, it’s important for construction employers like you to find ways to keep the job site warm. Doing so can offer a variety of benefits, such as ensuring employee comfort, preventing frozen pipe concerns and permitting construction materials and equipment to function appropriately in cold weather. Temporary heaters are a common tool used for warming construction sites. Although these heaters can be effective, they also carry several risks. Namely, temporary heaters can cause significant fire hazards and lead to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning if used incorrectly. Therefore, it’s critical to uphold the following safety precautions when utilizing such heaters:
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Temporary heaters often come with detailed installation and usage instructions from their associated manufacturers. These instructions generally outline necessary clearances between heaters and combustible materials, ventilation requirements and safe fueling protocols (if applicable). As such, make it a priority to follow all provided instructions for your heaters. Educate employees on these instructions as well.
- Establish a safe setup. Place temporary heaters in safe, stable and secure locations at the construction site. In particular, these heaters should be placed in positions that prevent them from tipping over. Specific setup requirements vary based on heater type. For example, indirect-fired heaters should be placed outdoors with flexible fuel line piping and barricaded fuel tanks. On the other hand, direct-fired heaters should be mechanically secured on noncombustible surfaces that extend several feet in front of them. Lastly, electric heaters should only be used in dry environments with ground fault protection.
- Have proper detection and mitigation measures in place. To minimize potential fire and CO risks, ensure all heaters are equipped with adequate temperature monitoring and safety shutdown features. In addition, it’s crucial to maintain sufficient smoke and CO detection systems at the construction site. Finally, be sure to supply adequate fire extinguishers on-site and train employees on proper extinguisher usage.
For additional industry-specific risk management guidance, contact Bassler & Co. Insurance Agency today. You can reach us by phone at (847) 480-0800 or visit our website at https://www.basslerins.com/. Source: www.zywave.com