Section 9.0: Hot-Work Permits
Ensuring fire safety in the performance of hot-work (welding, cutting, and brazing) operations during demolition, construction, renovation, or maintenance activities is a critical component of fire prevention.
Proper management and control of hot-work operations can be achieved through implementation of a site-specific hot-work permit program. Refer to the reference section for an example of a hot-work permit policy and form.
||Policies and procedures should include a written hot-work permit procedure. (See hot-work policy statement in this reference section for an example).|
||A survey of the plant to identify hazardous areas for hot-work activity should be completed. Hot-work in hazardous areas can result in catastrophic loses. Hazardous areas generally include areas with flammable liquids and/or gases.
||Hazardous areas for hot-work activities must be posted with appropriate warning signage such as "Hot-work is not allowed without proper authorization".
||Flammable and combustible material should be removed and/or protected from the hot-work. Special precautions, such as using fire-resistant tarps, to cover areas/equipment that cannot be removed from the hot-work area, and controlling potential migration of hot sparks and slag to other floors/areas, must be taken prior to the commencement of hot-work.
||The fire watch person(s) must be posted in the area to assure that the hot-work does not initiate a fire. This often includes person(s) posted below the area where the hot-work is performed.
||Depending on the hazards present, a firewatch should stay at the hot-work area for 30 to 60 minutes following completion of the hot-work. A fire can be initiated several hours after the hot-work is completed, if the area is not protected during the hot-work.
||Fire extinguishing equipment suitable for potential hazards present must be maintained in a state of readiness for immediate use. (See "Fire Extinguishers" Section.)
||In many companies, outside contractors are used for hot-work activities and will pose a risk of fire.
||Welding equipment must be properly used and all cables maintained in good condition.|
In an effort to establish some control over operations using flames or producing sparks, many industrial firms have instituted hot-work permit programs. These programs require that authorization be secured before equipment capable of igniting combustible materials is used outside their normal work areas.
In implementing a hot-work-permit program, management must first develop a policy statement, such as the one below. The type and extent of the hot-work permit program will depend upon the size of the plant or facility, the complexity of the operations, and the degree to which hazards are present at the work site and in the surrounding areas.
Important features of a hot-work permit program include the following:
- Inspection of the area where work is to be done to see how close combustible materials are to the work area.
- Establish fire watches, if hazards warrant. A fire watch should stay on duty following the shut-down of all spark-producing equipment. (Recommended time varies from 30 to 60 minutes.)
- Provide fire extinguishing equipment, usually manned by a standby employee.
- Communicate with and coordinate the activities of all departments concerned with fire protection.
- Isolate combustible materials from sources of ignition.
- Limit unauthorized use of flame- or spark-producing equipment.
A form or tag is generally used to administer the hot-work permit program. Although standard forms are available through insurance companies, many plants have developed special forms that specifically relate to their individual operation.
If hot-work is to be done by an outside contractor, establish areas of responsibility in a written contract. Ask the following questions:
- Who issues the hot-work permits and what signatures are required?
- Who provides fire watches?
- Who provides standby fire equipment?
- Who coordinates activities of the contractor with plant personnel?
SAMPLE HOT-WORK PERMIT
Applies Only to Area Specified Below