A fire on a construction site can result in serious injuries and loss of materials, equipment and even lives. All employees need to be familiar with the jobsite’s fire protection program – who to contact, what to do, the various types of fire extinguishers and their locations throughout the jobsite. Employees should be trained in the use and limitations of fire extinguishers to ensure they are used effectively when needed.

Fire extinguishers are meant to handle only small fires. If a fire becomes too large or the environment becomes too dangerous, employees should evacuate the area.

  • The fire is too large.
  • The air is unsafe to breathe.
  • The environment is too hot or the smoke limits visibility.
  • Evacuation paths are impaired.

Keep the fire in front of you. Never place yourself where the fire obstructs your escape.

Classes of Fires and Fire Extinguishers

  • A Wood, paper, ordinary trash.
  • B Flammable liquids (gasoline, oil, grease, solvents, paints, etc.).
  • C Energized electrical equipment.
  • D Combustible metals.
  • K Kitchen fires.

Use the P.A.S.S. Method for correctly using a fire extinguisher.

  • Pull the Pin – Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
  • Aim low – Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly to operate and discharge.
  • Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

Fire Extinguisher Inspection

  • Visually inspect portable extinguishers or hoses monthly.
  • Verify the fire extinguisher is properly charge. Indicator must always be in the green zone.
  • Perform an annual maintenance check on portable fire extinguishers and document.
  • Fire extinguisher must be easily accessible.

Download the printable PDF and Recording Form here.

Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk here.

Safe Fueling Procedures

Originally published 03/27/2018

Vehicle and equipment fueling procedures and practices are designed to minimize pollution of surface or ground waters. Safety is always a priority. The hazards involved with fueling equipment on a construction site include gas and fuel fires, spills, vapors and slips, trips and falls. Here are some precautions you should take to prevent a fueling accident:

Fueling Station

  •  Keep a spill kit available and train workers to use it.
  •  Keep a fire extinguisher at the fueling station.
  • Set up fueling stations in well-ventilated areas.
  • Maintain all pumps, hoses and nozzles in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Inspect fueling areas and storage tanks regularly.
  • Clearly post instructions for safe operation of fueling equipment and appropriate contact information for the person(s) responsible for spill response.

Fueling Your Vehicle

  • Shut the engine off.
  • Ensure that the fuel is the proper type of fuel.
  • Do not use electronic devices, such as cell phones while fueling because a spark could ignite a fire.
  • Before dispensing fuel into your vehicle, touch a metal part of your vehicle that is not close to the fuel tank. This helps dissipate any static build-up on your body created when you slid out of your vehicle.
  •  Never smoke while fueling. Also, make certain there are no other potential sources of ignition, such as open flames or spark-producing equipment operating in the area.
  •  Do not overfill the fuel tank.
  • Allow for fuel expansion on hot days.
  • If you are refueling portable equipment such as lawn mowers, generators, chain saws, or anything else with a fuel-powered engine, let the engine cool down before you add fuel to the tank. Spilling fuel on a hot motor instantly creates a cloud of highly flammable vapor, which can easily catch fire or explode.
  • Use only safety cans or other approved portable fuel containers to transport or transfer fuel. Unapproved containers can leak, spill fuel, or rupture.
  • Never dispense fuel into a can or other portable container while it is sitting in your vehicle or truck bed.
  • If you have a fuel spill:
    • Clean it up immediately using the appropriate spill kit.
    • Remove any clothing that has absorbed gasoline and thoroughly wash the fuel from your body.
    • Properly dispose of the clean-up materials.

Fuels can be highly flammable and, if handled improperly, these substances can make fueling equipment a dangerous task. Be aware of the hazards and follow the prevention steps to avoid an incident on your site.

Download the recording form here.