Hot Works

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There are some special regulations in the prevention of fire risks where hot work is carried out. Hot work comprises of activities that involve the application or generation of heat during their execution. Such activities include cutting, welding, braising, soldering and the use of hot lamps. Hot work in the main is associated with the application of heat either directly or adjacent to plant, tanks, vessels or pipes that contain or have contained an explosive, toxic or flammable substance. 

Hot work causes risks to buildings and their surroundings as a result of worked activities that generate heat, such as burning, grinding and welding. In areas where combustible or flammable materials are concerned, these could be ignited and hot works can cause asphyxiation by gases, vapours and toxic fumes. 

Workplaces that carry out hot work must ensure that these activities have been adequately covered by their risk assessments, and are being carried out by suitable persons. Hot works should only be undertaken if all other alternatives have been discounted. If the hot work involves or produces substances hazardous to health, like cleaning solvents, acids or welding fumes, then the work must include additional control measures as necessary under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, or COSHH. 

To control the risks associated with hot work, activities must be carried out in accordance with either a standard operating procedure or permit to work, depending on the substances and all hot work must be carried out by authorised and competent people. They have to have received adequate training in the awareness of the hazards and necessary precautions relating to hot works, instruction in the standard operating procedures and the application of a permit to work procedure.

The area should be made as safe as possible before the work starts, and necessary caution must be taken whilst the work is in progress. On completion of the hot work, the work area must be made safe and properly cleaned up. The person in charge of the team and the job must decide whether to revisit the work area after a suitable time period, normally around 1 hour, to ensure that there are no signs of potential ignitions, or indeed any other problems. This should be stipulated as part of the procedure or permit if appropriate.