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Working with ignition sources near flammable materials is referred to as "hot work." Welding, soldering and cutting are examples of hot work. Fires are often the result of the "quick five minute" job in areas not intended for welding or cutting. Getting a hot work permit before performing hot work is just one of steps involved in a hot work management program that helps to reduce the risk of starting a fire by hot work in areas where there are flammable or combustible materials.
The 2014 version of NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Standard 51B "Fire Prevention in the Use of Cutting and Welding Processes" serves as the basis for many current fire prevention practices adopted by industry. CSA standard W117.2-12 - Safety in welding, cutting, and allied processes and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard Z49.1:2012 Safety in Welding, Cutting and Allied Processes were created to protect persons and property from injury, illness, and damage from fire and explosions that may occur from these processes.
Hot work management programs are put in place to control or eliminate hot work hazards and their risks. Programs include the development of policies, procedures, and the assignment of responsibilities and accountabilities for all aspects of hot work. A program includes:
a. Where hot work is permitted
b. When hot work is permitted
c. Who authorizes, performs, and monitors hot work activities
a. What must be assessed before permitting/performing hot work in an area or on a process piece of equipment or area
b. What to do to prepare an area for hot work
c. What to do if hot work cannot be avoided in a particularly hazardous area
d. What hot work tools are required
e. How to obtain a hot work permit, when they are required, and who can administer them
a. Employees, supervisors, maintenance individuals, fire wardens, trained fire watch individuals, and contractors all have different roles, and must be trained accordingly
a. Posting procedures
b. Posting policies
c. Posting signs in areas that are prohibited from having hot work performed in them
You may be able to substitute hot work with other methods. Below are some examples:
|Saw or torch cutting||Manual hydraulic shears|
|Sweat soldering||Screwed or flanged pipe|
|Torch of radial saw cutting||Mechanical pipe cutter|
But remember, always assess the substitutes or alternate method for any risks or hazards. Do not introduce any new risks or hazards.
Make sure you are following your hot work procedure. Also consider the following items: