Hot work is defined as any work that uses fire or spark producing tools or one which becomes a source of ignition, according to OSHA. Workers who perform hot work face the risk of fire from leakage of flammable gas and ignition of flammable substances. They can suffer burns and other injuries if hot work is done without taking necessary safety precautions. Read on to learn why safety for workers performing hot work is a must.
Workers Performing Hot Work Face Risk of Fires From Leaks of Flammable Gases
Where possible, avoid doing hot work in the company premises. Have it done offsite to control the environment and manage it with necessary safety precautions.
Care should also be taken that hot work is performed in a space that does not have flammable substances. Wearing personal protective equipment will reduce the possibility of injuries for those performing hot work.
Brittney Cornillaud said in a recent article:
“According to OSHA, hot work is any work that involves burning, welding, using fire- or spark-producing tools or that produces a source of ignition. Workers performing hot work such as welding, cutting, brazing, soldering and grinding are exposed to the risk of fires from ignition of flammable or combustible materials in the space and from leaks of flammable gas into the space from hot-work equipment.”
OSHA Recommends Monitoring The Hot Work Area With A Gas Detector
Workplace fires can lead to loss of property, equipment and life. It can lead to millions in loss for the company. The danger about workplace fires if they go unnoticed is that they can get out of control and lead to costly lawsuits. Getting a Certificate of Insurance will help cover your expenses, in case of a fire.
OSHA recommends setting up a gas detector in the area where hot work is performed. It will alert workers if the level of a particular flammable or combustible gas exceeds 10 percent of its lower explosive limit(LEL). This will provide workers with sufficient time to evacuate and ventilate the area before resuming hot work.
As shared in a recent article on safetyandhealthmagazine,
“…make sure appropriate fire-extinguishing equipment is on hand in the event of an emergency, and assign someone to watch as a guard when hot work is occurring. Because workers can suffer burns resulting from the accumulation of flammable gases, OSHA recommends monitoring the hot work area with a gas detector. Stop work immediately if a flammable or combustible gas exceeds 10 percent of its lower explosive limit.”
Having gas monitoring systems will alert you when the concentration of gas increases to levels that can be dangerous to perform hot work.
Ideally, hot work should be performed under supervision. The fire-watcher should be trained in fire safety hazards and be trained in the use of fire extinguishers and fire alarm activation.
After hot work is performed, the area should be monitored for any signs of fire for atleast four hours by the fire-safety supervisor. These simple measures will help protect workers who are required to perform hot work.