Control of Hot Work
Risk Management Advice for Cutting, Welding or Other Hot Work
Cutting, welding and other hot work operations present a major fire risk to organisations. Most often, these fires start because of carelessness or ineffective supervision while hot work is occurring. Fires from cutting, welding and other hot work operations have generated multi-million pound losses in the United Kingdom. Fortunately, these losses are largely preventable when those responsible take specific precautions.
Hot work includes any operation that generates heat, sparks or flame – often from sources like gas and electric cutting and welding equipment, blow lamps and blowtorches, grinding wheels and cutting discs, and bitumen and tar boilers. When a fire occurs as a result of hot work, it’s often because molten globules of metal roll distances or fall through cracks onto unseen combustibles.
What are the most common reasons for hot work fires?
- Inadequate preparation of the work site.
- Outside contractors failing to comply with hot work precautions.
- Poor housekeeping.Failure to maintain fire watches or to provide adequate fire extinguishing equipment.
- Defective equipment.
What precautions should an organisation take when undertaking hot work?
- Issue a hot work permit as part of a formalised permit system
- If a contractor is used, only select contractors who have properly trained personnel and understand the risks involved.
- Advise contractors about any flammable materials or hazardous conditions that require special care.
- Ensure the contractor has adequate insurance and understands if their policy has restrictions related to hot work.
- Create a written contract that specifies the standards of conduct for contractors and clearly establishes responsibility for liability in the event of a loss.
When should a hot work permit be used?
- A hot work permit must be in place when hot work cannot be conducted in designated, properly safeguarded areas such as maintenance workshops or detached outside locations, or it is conducted by outside contractors or other non-employees.
- The permit should only be issued after a trained supervisor has assessed the area and verified that all safety precautions are being taken.
For more information, sign up to our Risk Academy, log in to the Risk Control Customer Portal, or email RCEUROPE@travelers.com
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