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Fire safety in construction: site evacuation and self-reported worker behaviour

Fire safety in construction: site evacuation and self-reported worker behaviour

Hulse, Lynn M. ORCID: 0000-0001-5582-3520, Deere, Steven ORCID: 0000-0001-5171-2014 and Galea, Edwin R. ORCID: 0000-0002-0001-6665 (2021) Fire safety in construction: site evacuation and self-reported worker behaviour. Safety Science, 145:105482. ISSN 0925-7535 (doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2021.105482)

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Abstract

It is estimated that between 500 and 600 construction site fires occur each year in the UK. The true figure – possibly higher – is obscured because such fires are not specified in official fire statistics. Despite reports of casualties, and despite site evacuation posing numerous challenges to construction workers, there has been a dearth of research into the human behavioural aspects of construction site fires and evacuations. This study provided a novel contribution to the issue of fire safety in construction by conducting unannounced evacuations at the sites of two tall UK buildings. Questionnaire surveys were administered to collect self-reports of related worker behaviour. Responses (N = 61) revealed that there appeared to be a positive safety climate at both sites, that workers were not risk-takers, that most knew the correct procedure to follow in a fire emergency, and almost all heard the alarm sound when it was activated. Yet, even though many believed there was a real threat, only around half of the sample reported evacuating immediately. When workers did commence their evacuation, wayfinding was reliant on pictorial aids seen either before or during the supposed emergency. “Vulnerable” workers – those of a younger age or whose first language was not English – did not appear to be disadvantaged with respect to comprehension of the fire emergency procedure and plan. However, it is suggested that this sample displayed a best-case scenario. Further studies should be conducted with a larger number of workers and a larger number of contractors with varying safety records.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: construction, fire, evacuation, risk, age, migrant worker
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Centre for Numerical Modelling & Process Analysis (CNMPA)
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Centre for Numerical Modelling & Process Analysis (CNMPA) > Fire Safety Engineering Group (FSEG)
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences (CAM)
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2021 12:01
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/33868

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