Contractor Safety Share

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Heat from Light Fixture Burns Ceiling Tile

Heat from Light Fixture Burns Ceiling Tile  


A telecommunication cable installer moved a ceiling tile containing a can light on top of another tile in a drop ceiling to gain access to run data cable.  As he assumed the job would only take him a few minutes, the electricity to the light was not de-energized, nor was the bulb disconnected.  Shortly after moving the can light tile, the cable installer was asked to get down from his ladder to assist a co-worker for a few minutes.  In doing so, the contractor did not return the tile and light to its grid.  While helping the co-worker fish a conduit they received notice that it was time for lunch.  Forgetting about the light and tile that he removed earlier, the contractor left with his co-worker to eat.
Approximately 30 minutes later a security guard making rounds in the area smelled smoke and found the ceiling tile smoldering.  No flames were involved, nor did a smoke detector or sprinkler head activate.  The security guard removed the tile and reported the situation to his supervisor.  The security supervisor notified the cable installers involved, who had the damaged ceiling tile replaced.

Factors to consider at your site and/or project include, but not limited to the following:

  • Ensure that heat producing items that are still energized, or hot, are not placed in contact with or near to a combustible surface.
  • Ensure that leaving a work area temporarily to help a co-worker with another task does not increase the potential for an incident to occur in the area that is being left unattended.
  • Ensure that work areas are inspected and required housekeeping duties conducted before leaving for lunch or break.
Consider this example as you complete today’s work activities.
Safety Flash Action Items:
  • Date Contractor Safety Flash posted for all employees to review: _______________
  • Safety Talk meeting date: _______________
  • Full employee attendance and participation at safety meeting to review this incident (documentation required).
  • Employees understand urgency in protecting themselves and others.
  • Supervisors and Employees are clear which items shared in this Safety Flash are mandatory.
  • Employees/Supervisors will focus on recommended actions during future work activities of a similar nature.
Contract Firm Management Rep Signature____________________

THINK about the hazards associated with your particular work, and the steps that can be taken to increase safety on your job.


If you have questions about this CONTRACTOR SAFETY FLASH, please contact

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