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.


9.1. Policies and procedures should include a written hot-work permit procedure. (See hot-work policy statement in this reference section for an example).
9.2. 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.
9.3. Hazardous areas for hot-work activities must be posted with appropriate warning signage such as "Hot-work is not allowed without proper authorization".
9.4. 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.
9.5. 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.
9.6. 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.
9.7. Fire extinguishing equipment suitable for potential hazards present must be maintained in a state of readiness for immediate use.  (See "Fire Extinguishers" Section.)
9.8. In many companies, outside contractors are used for hot-work activities and will pose a risk of fire.
9.9. 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:

  1. Inspection of the area where work is to be done to see how close combustible materials are to the work area.
  2. 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.)
  3. Provide fire extinguishing equipment, usually manned by a standby employee.
  4. Communicate with and coordinate the activities of all departments concerned with fire protection.
  5. Isolate combustible materials from sources of ignition.
  6. 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:

  1. Who issues the hot-work permits and what signatures are required?
  2. Who provides fire watches?
  3. Who provides standby fire equipment?
  4. Who coordinates activities of the contractor with plant personnel?

Applies Only to Area Specified Below

Date: _____/_______/_______ Building: ________________________ Floor: __________________

Nature of Job: _______________________________________________________________

The above location has been examined; the precautions checked below have been taken to prevent fire.


The supervisor must inspect the proposed work area and check precautions to prevent fire.

General Precautions

Sprinklers and/or fire host in service
Cutting and welding equipment in good repair
Area supervisor notified

Precautions within 35 Feet of Work

Floors swept clean of combustibles
Combustible floors wet down, covered with damp sand, metal, or fireproof sheets
No combustible materials or flammable liquids
Combustibles and flammable liquids protected with fire-proof tarpaulins or metal shields
All wall and floor openings covered
Fireproof tarpaulins suspended beneath work to collect sparks and protect pedestrians

Work on Walls or Ceilings

Construction noncombustible and without combustible covering or insulation
Combustibles moved away from opposite side

Work on Enclosed Equipment

Equipment cleaned of all combustibles
Containers purged of flammable vapors
Adequate air flow through enclosed equipment to be provided while cutting and welding is done


To be provided during and for 30 minutes after operation
Supplied with extinguishers or small hose
Trained in use of equipment and in sounding alarms

I have personally examined the above and certify that the checked precautions have been taken.

          Signed: ______________________________ (Supervisor Performing Work)

Permission is Granted for this Work

Permit Expires on _____/_____/_____ at _____ : _____ AM/PM

          Signed: ______________________________ (Area Supervisor)

Time Started: ____ : _____ AM/PM _____ : _____ AM/PM

Final Check-Up

Work area and all adjacent areas to which sparks and heat might have spread ( such as floors above and below and on opposite sides of walls were inspected for at least 30 minutes after the work was completed and were found fire safe.

          Signed: ______________________________ (Supervisor Performing Work)

After signing, return permit to person who issued it.

Back to Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Getting Started
Survey Checklists

Reference Guide

Appendix I
Sources of Information & Assistance

Appendix II

Appendix III
Review of Basic Fire Hazards

Appendix IV
Facility Survey

Appendix V
Selected NFPA Reference Codes

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