The energy was palpable this morning, the second day of the “Compliance through Collaboration” forum held at NFPA this week. More than 60 professionals including facility managers, enforcers, contractors, designers, inspectors, installers, and fire service personnel from across the country came ready to engage in discussions on the building process, and to learn from their colleagues.
The morning kicked off with a group of passionate, engaged panelists who addressed safety on construction sites, most notably hot work safety, a problem found in many jurisdictions, and the related standards: NFPA 241: Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alterations and Demolition Operations, and NFPA 51B: Standard for Fire Prevention During Welding, Cutting, and Other Hot Work. This included an emotional address from Deputy Fire Chief/Fire Marshal, Jack Dempsey, from the Boston Fire Department, who spoke about the tragic loss of two firefighters in the 2014 Back Bay fire, and the subsequent evolution of NFPA 241 and creation of the Boston Hot Work Safety Certificate Program, after this incident.
Later discussions looked at construction site safety from the role of fire prevention project and safety managers tasked with training, implementing and communicating safety plans to all those working on a project. Safety managers from such building companies as Gilbane, Lee Kennedy and Suffolk gave compelling and informed presentations, pointing to the lessons they have learned (even the hard ones) and stressing the importance of designing a program/plan to keep everyone safe, working together and successful.
Regardless of what area of the building process these participants hail from or at what point they are engaged in a building project, the overall theme of this morning’s presentations was clear: there’s always something more we can do, more lessons we can learn, and we can always do better. Still, participants agree that they are seeing progress and it’s encouraging. Forums such as these, they say, are helpful in raising awareness and educating people on the most important issues. And as the name of this particular forum suggests, we're reminded of just how powerful collaboration can be.
Find more information about construction fires at www.nfpa.org/constructionfires. Up tomorrow: a panel discussion on energy storage.
Photo (left to right): Dennis Mullen, Safety Director, Gilbane Building Company; Doug Standbridge, Safety Manager/FPPM, Suffolk; Jack Dempsey, Deputy Fire Chief/Fire Marshal, Boston Fire Department; Tom O'Donnel, CFPS, Associate Inspection Engineer, Inspectional Services Division, City of Boston; Paul Fitzpatrick, Construction Safety Unit, Boston Fire Department; Jason Edic, CSP, Lee Kennedy Company, Inc.; Ken Colgate, Vice President, Construction, WS Development, and Matt Bourque, Fire Protection Program Manager, WS Development.