Key Considerations for Passive Fire Protection in Industrial Buildings
The manufacturing industry is one of the most high-risk industries in the world. Manufacturing plants and other industrial buildings are full of hazardous materials that are produced and worked with under volatile conditions. Environments such as these are highly susceptible to hazards such as fire and explosion, so it is vital that appropriate fire protection measures are put in place to protect a building and those inside it. While fire protection is of essential importance in all settings, the value of specially selected, installed and maintained fire protection is of even greater importance for industrial buildings.
In this blog from CPFP, we discuss some key considerations for passive fire protection in industrial buildings. We outline some of the common risks and challenges encountered in these settings, going on to offer guidance on implementing effective passive fire protection within industrial settings. For more articles relating to passive fire protection in a variety of contexts, take a look at our blog – articles include, Fire Prevention & Safety Tips for Offices, What are the Common Causes of Workplace Fires? and Passive Fire Protection Products & Materials.
Common Fire Risks in Industrial Buildings
Implementing Effective Passive Fire Protection Solutions for Factories is highly important, especially as hazardous materials are often stored in manufacturing facilities for extended periods. Not only do industrial buildings often store highly combustible materials (already increasing fire risk), but it is also common for the processing taking place to use high heat and flame to shape raw materials into assorted products.
Common causes of fire in industrial settings include:
- Electrical Malfunctions or misuse
Electrical malfunctions are a top cause of fires across all workplaces. Often caused by exposed wires, overloaded outlets/circuits, incorrectly placed extension cords and static discharge. In order to limit the fire risks presented by these items, regular inspections are essential to make sure electricals stay in good working order.
- Flammable Liquids and Gases
Flammable liquids and gasses pose a particularly high risk in chemical plants. Often, accidents relating to hazardous liquids and gases can be avoided by ensuring adequate training and PPE is provided to all staff interacting with a substance. In addition, correct storage of dangerous substances helps limit the risks associated with incorrect placement and handling. Naturally, it is also of vital importance that flammable liquids and gases are continuously stored and handled with great caution regarding nearby ignition sources.
Another threat to industrial premises is work that uses hot tools. Examples of this include welding, grinding or other process that involves molten metals. This type of work often creates sparks which can cause damage or ignite other substances, especially flammable glasses and liquids.
- Vehicle/Machinery Malfunctions
Another large fire risk relevant to those working in industrial buildings is equipment and machinery. Maintaining an up-to-date, extensive knowledge of the machinery within your premises or plant and arranging the appropriate services reduces fire risk. In addition, machinery should also be thoroughly cleaned at regular intervals to limit hazards caused by any residual products.
Implementing Effective Passive Fire Protection Solutions for Factories
As previously mentioned, factories are at particularly high risk of fire for a host of reasons. Luckily, there are a range of passive fire protection measures that can be taken to limit the spread of fire should one begin within an industrial space. Passive fire protection works by isolating separate fire risk zones with barriers, doors and cavity insulation to limit the spread of fire, smoke and heat. Limiting the spread of fire and its by-products gives those inside a plant more time to evacuate and those attending the fire time to extinguish the blaze before it has had a chance to spread.
As noted, items of passive fire protection suited to industrial buildings or manufacturing plants include:
Fire Compounding – Fire compounding works to reduce the spread of fire and smoke through small openings in walls, floors and connecting structures. Specialist materials are used to create a seal that maintains the integrity of these structures. Many solutions utilise high-density rock wool which has a fire-resistant coating. Intumescent sealant can also be used as a concentrated firestopping tool to provide a seal around pipes, cables and ducts.
Cavity Barriers – Cavity barriers work to prevent fire and by-products from passing through larger void spaces in walls floors and ceilings. Due to their size, measures covering larger spaces like this have particular usefulness in large industrial buildings – maintaining the integrity of fire compartmentalisation and reducing damage caused by the spread of flames.
Fire Doors – Another key factor of passive fire protection for all workplace environments is fire doors. Fore doors work effectively in conjunction with other PFP. Fire doors play an especially important role in protecting those working inside industrial buildings as they allow exit routes to maintain open for those looking to evacuate.
Learn More with CPFP
Here at CPFP, our expert team are certified through third-party accreditation with IFCC. Our services span a range of industries, including manufacturing. With the guidance of our expert team, managers have peace of mind that the supply, installation and reparation of their passive fire protection adheres to the latest standards and building regulations – using only approved materials and expert installation. For more details, look at our range of passive fire protection services or speak to a member of our team today.