What is hot work?
OSHA says; “any work that involves burning, welding, using fire-or spark-producing tools, or that uses a source of ignition”.
Why is hot work fire safety important?
There are 4,440 fires per year that involve hot work. 42% of those occur with homes. Nearly all are preventable. The top three peak areas include; wall assemblies, concealed spaces and bathrooms. Naturally, those are common areas for installation and repair work. If your team is aware of the areas and materials prone to fire, they can be extra careful in those situations.
Hot work safety tips:
- Stay clear of combustibles while welding and sweating pipes. Common combustibles you might see during this type of work include: dust, sawdust, shavings, wood, framing, timbers, cardboard, paper, oil, gas, rags or cloth, anything plastic (buckets and containers, for example), and aerosol cans.
- If you can’t move combustibles out, be sure you cover them with a fire resistive mat or tarp.
- Sweep floors and wet down or protect any flooring that could burn.
- Make sure everyone follows the manufacturer’s directions on equipment.
- It’s also important to maintain your equipment. Inspect for leaks, damage, faulty valves or regulator problems before beginning work.
- Make sure every toolbox has a fire extinguisher! Remember to inspect it monthly and make sure it is charged, the needle on the meter must be in the green. Don’t take for granted your employees know how to use it. Train them.
- Wait one hour after completing hot work before leaving to monitor and review for signs of fire.