Hot Work Operations and Procedures
Welding, brazing, flame or plasma cutting, hot riveting, grinding, chipping, sweating, soldering, and other activities that produce sparks or use flame are important tools of modern industry. The portability of some of the equipment and its careless use outside of areas specifically designed for its safe use, such as maintenance shops or manufacturing areas designated as hot work areas, can increase the likelihood of fire that will destroy facilities and interrupt production. To make sure portable cutting, welding, and other hot work for maintenance, construction, or modifications is done safely, a permit system should be used
The essence of a good hot work permit program is as follows:
- The program should be supervised by a qualified individual such as a welding superintendent, maintenance foreman, fire chief, plant engineer, or master mechanic.
- This individual should examine the location of any proposed work, insist on other methods if conditions cannot be made safe, and make sure that the precautions listed on the permit are taken.
- The individual should then sign the permit and give it to the welder. No work should be allowed without a properly signed permit at the job site.
- If work at a location continues for more than one shift, a new permit should be issued for each shift.
Welders and other personnel who might be using hot work equipment should be instructed in precautions to be taken and a list of these precautions should be posted in the maintenance shop, on the equipment, and on the permit. These precautions include:
- Performing hot work in a properly arranged maintenance shop, except when the job cannot be moved to it.
- Using only equipment that is in good condition. Valves, regulators, hoses, and torches should be thoroughly checked.
- Refraining from using welding, cutting, or other hot work equipment in a building where sprinklers are out of service.
- Moving combustibles at least 35 ft from hot work operations. If combustibles cannot be moved, they must be protected by metal guards or by flameproofed curtains or covers rather than ordinary tarpaulins.
- Prohibiting hot work in or on vessels containing flammable or combustible materials, including residues, until they have been completely cleaned and purged, or inerted.
- Checking the atmosphere for combustible gases or vapors where necessary, using reliable detection equipment. If there is a chance of a gas vapor release during hot work operations, continuous-duty portable combustible gas detectors should be used to constantly monitor the area.
- Prohibiting hot work until surrounding floors have been swept clean and, if combustible, wet down.
- Prohibiting hot work until all wall and floor openings within 35 ft of the operations have been tightly covered or otherwise protected with metal guards or flameproofed tarpaulins.
- Prohibiting hot work until responsible persons have been assigned to watch for dangerous sparks in the area and on floors above and below.
- Securing gas cutting and welding cylinders so they will not be upset or damaged, and replacing protective caps on all cylinders not actually in use.
- Carefully connecting the ground clamp when using electrical arc welding equipment. Since an improperly made ground can be a source of ignition, the ground clamp should be connected as close to the work as possible so that it may be easily observed.
- Arranging for a patrol of the area, including floors above and below, during any break in the work, such as lunch or rest periods and for at least half an hour after the work has been completed. If the hot work ends near the time of a shift change, arrangements should be made for the patrols to continue into the next shift.
- Using portable stands to elevate welding hose or cable off floor areas where it can be easily damaged.
- Copies of procedures are in packets located in Carpenter/Dorm shop, Engineer shop, Energy Plant, Electrical shop, Construction Coordinator office.
- WSC Authorizers-Project Coordinator, Department Manager/designee, or Director need to approve
- Person performing the work will fill out both sections of tag, top is posted on work, bottom stay with Authorizer as a reminder to the work being performed.