UK construction plant fire claims double

Pandemic-related construction project delays led to a surge in plant fire claims in the second and third quarter of 2020, according to data from specialist engineering and technology insurer, HSB.

These operational fires were due to increased hydraulic hose failures and electrical faults; a sign that plant and equipment was being worked harder. Hose failure fires often occur if the hydraulic fluids are sprayed onto hot working parts of equipment. In addition, running plant with constantly low fluid levels can also present a substantial risk of fire and damage.

John Nicholls, construction product lead at HSB, commented: “Our claims data provides a clear indication that the pandemic has impacted on the number of plant fire claims we have seen. As construction sites re-mobilised after the first lockdown and contractors sought to steer projects back on schedule, plant was worked harder than usual; placing additional stress on working parts and electrical systems. With projects typically operating to tight deadlines, the repercussions of out of action equipment can be costly. “

Regular visual inspections of working parts, hydraulic lines, fluid levels, the engine bay, electrical system and electrical control coupled with scheduled maintenance can mitigate the risk of operational fires occurring.

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