During a construction project that involves spray foam insulation application, there is a risk of fire if the spray foam materials are exposed to an ignition source. Common ignition sources include welding tools and cutting torches. An important element of spray foam safety is taking measures to ensure spray foam does not come into contact with these heat sources, thus reducing the risk of a fire.
Safety Concerns with Hot Work
If there is any hot work, which OSHA defines as welding, riveting, fame cutting, or another spark-producing method, going on at the construction site, the following steps can help avoid accidents with spray foam:
- Ensure that permits for the hot work are obtained. To obtain a permit, the contractor will have to be knowledgeable about safety issues such as fires.
- Make sure all workers on site know about the characteristics of spray foam and its flammability.
- Ensure all combustible spray foam materials are at least 35 feet from a hot work site.
Your spray foam applicators must also be wary of applying spray foam at a site where hot work is occurring. Emphasize these elements prior to a job:
- Make sure all applicators have reviewed the manufacturer's instructions regarding the thickness of the spray foam. Applying a layer that's too thick increases the risk of combustion.
- Reiterate how important it is to avoid smoking near the construction site, even when application is not actively occurring.
- Conduct meetings with all of your applicators and other on-site contractors to ensure there is a plan in place if a fire does occur. This plan should involve immediate evacuation of the site once the fire has been contained.
Visit the NCFI website to learn about our spray foam safety training for contractors and applicators.