What is hot work?
Before discussing hot work safety, let’s define hot work. Hot work is a type of work that involve heating, sparking, flames and friction. While either heat is used or heat is produced.
According to the British standard institution. Any process that involves or has the potential to generate heat, spark or flame, and fire.
This type of work has more than one hazard, for example, a hot cutting task with the electric grinder has the following risks,
- fire hazard
- electric shock
- slip, trip, and fall
- injuries and cuts
- eye injuries due to flying small parts
- hearing injuries due to cutting noise
- explosion hazard when working in an explosive atmosphere
- hot surfaces hazard and skin burning
Hot Work Examples
- Cutting and grinding of materials
- Process of soldering, Welding, and brazing
- The use of torches, blowing lamps, and thawing pipes.
- Hot air balloons and lead heaters.
- Tar boilers.
I worked for a welding company when I was a fresh graduated engineer, for just 6 months, Once, a worker needed to cut a metallic barrel, So he used a grinder to do so.
However the barrel was empty, But it exploded due to the explosive atmosphere inside it, This happened because, the barrel was used to contain oil.
As mentioned above, different types of hazards are related to these works. Therefore, proper protection to ensure hot work safety is necessary.
What are hot work precautions?
To ensure workplace and worker safety different types of control measures are in use. That can control the risk and fire before and after the incidents.
Below are some basic control measures.
Hot Work Permit
The first thing to reduce, control or eliminate hot work hazards is a hot work permit.
Hot work is used where workplaces are not designed for this type of work. Many people don’t know about this term.
It is a step-by-step instructions checklist that is required for hot work fire safety. Some basic points of hot work permits are.
- Complete details of the work, that which type of hot work is this.
- Associated hazards and risks with the mentioned work (performing a risk assessment)
- What type of safety procedure and precautions are necessary to control the hazard?
- What type of personal protective equipment to use?
- Complete details of any essential related training and certificates.
- Duty assignments and authorized person.
Trained Workers Only
Hot work needs qualified well trained workers only to perform the task. As we mentioned in our article 16 Hidden Workplace Hazard Examples, That the unqualified worker is one of the most dangerous hazards in the workplace.
Not only he is risky for his own life but also for others’ lives. In hot work tasks, the hazard can start a disaster.
Flammable Gases Monitoring
Hot work needs or produces heat, So any flammable gases may cause an explosion. Monitoring gases before and during work is essential to ensure safety and prevent explosions.
An authorized safety engineer or any well-trained person can monitor the gases with a calibrated gas detector.
Fire Safety System Ready
The next important step to ensure hot work safety is installing fire safety systems in the vicinity, where hot work is in progress.
The fire system and other related equipment need to be properly checked after a specific interval.
This system may contain, a smoke detector, heat sensors, fire alarm, and fire suppression.
Some hot work tasks are done outsides where no fire system is placed, So a fire watcher supervisor to watch the work and take the proper safety procedure in case f any fire. In this case, using the proper type of fire extinguisher is the only choice where needed.
For more information read our article: Fire Protection System, Active and Passive types?
Protected and designated areas Selection
It is important to carry out all types of hot work in designated areas. This means they are specified for carrying out the hot work.
Similarly, hot work either uses heat, and flames or produces heat, sparks, and flames. So there is a risk of other things damaging and burning. Therefore, the areas and materials must be protected to avoid any inconvenience.
Proper housekeeping can reduce the risk of different hazards. Before the hot work begins the roundabout must be cleared of all types of combustible items.
After the work completes. Properly place all related tools and materials.
What PPE is used for hot work?
Hot work tasks are high-risk and contain many hazards as mentioned. So almost all body PPE is used in these tasks.
PPE list that is commonly used in hot work.
- hard hat
- eye protection glasses or goggles
- earplugs or earmuffs
- insulated gloves
- flame resistant coverall
- safety shoes with metallic toe protection1
For detailed information we highly recommend our article: What is PPE for welding activity?