Think explosions only occur in the movies? You had better think again. The reality is that explosions occur far more often than many people realize, and in a variety of places — including workplaces.
In fact, according to the most recent numbers reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, explosions and fires accounted for 88 work-related deaths in 2016 alone. While this death toll was a decrease from the year before, it is still alarming, particularly if you work in some of the more dangerous occupations, such as construction.
Why is construction so dangerous when it comes to fires and explosions? Well, the fact is that construction workers must deal with potentially dangerous situations on a daily basis, including having to work with everything from gas lines to live wiring. Given these hazards, a normal work day can turn explosive in the blink of an eye.
Some of the more common causes of construction fires and explosions include:
- Open flames (including cigarettes) near pressurized containers such as gas cylinders
- Temporary heating devices, which are especially dangerous near flammable or combustible items
- Electrical malfunctions, particularly near combustible materials
- Unattended cooking appliances used by workers, including hot plates and coffee machines
- Vandalism, arson and other criminal activities
It is important to keep in mind, however, that these are merely a few of the conditions that can lead to a serious construction fire, which is why construction safety protocols are so crucial.