Hot Work: Controlling Spark Producing Activities
Hot work activity is a common task that is necessary in a variety of workplaces. General industry workplaces usually require maintenance shops or fabrication areas while construction jobsites generally require some type of cutting and/or welding during various phases of construction.
Hot work activity is most commonly defined as work involving electric or gas welding, cutting, grinding, brazing, or similar flame or spark-producing operations. These activities can inadvertently place an ignition source into an area with combustible or flammable material. The hazards associated with hot work can be serious in nature when not properly managed or abated. In certain applications, hot work activity can cause catastrophic events. These include but are not limited to, activity on or near flammable storage tanks, permit-required confined spaces, and near highly hazardous chemicals.
For hot work in the general industry and construction arenas, these guidelines should be implemented for the management hot work safety.
The hot work operator cannot begin hot work until the permit requirements have been satisfied. General requirements for hot work permits include:
-Within a 35 foot radius, cover combustible flooring, ensure sparks cannot reach combustible material which could drop to another floor;
-Remove all flammable and combustible liquids;
-Cover all floor and wall openings to prevent entry of sparks or hot slag;
-Cover combustible materials that cannot be moved;
-Require a trained fire watch during the work and for at least 30 minutes after the work is completed;
-Provide adequate number of portable fire extinguishers;
-Familiarize the fire watch with procedures to report a fire and activating the fire alarm.
In conclusion, when hot work activity is required in the workplace, the hazards must be identified, assessed and managed. Failure to identify and manage all hazards can lead to serious and even catastrophic events.
Toolbox talk based on NMGC submitted by Kyle Boylan – Exelon Mystic Station