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“Hot work” refers to any task that involves burning, welding, or the use of fire- or spark-producing tools, or actions that generate sources of ignition. On an oil job site, there are numerous potential hazards, including well heads, fuel tanks, mud tanks, tank batteries, gas separators, and oil treaters.

Reducing Risk

Workers who perform hot work are at risk of fire due to the ignition of flammable or combustible materials, flammable gas leaks, and hot work equipment. Follow these safety recommendations to lower your risk of injury:

  • Perform hot work in a safe location or in areas where fire hazards have been removed or covered.
  • Use guards to contain the heat, sparks, and slag, as well as to protect the immovable fire hazards.
  • Do not perform hot work in areas where there are flammable vapors or combustible materials. If possible, work and equipment should be relocated outside of the hazardous area.
  • Ensure that appropriate fire-extinguishing equipment is immediately available. This equipment could include buckets of water, buckets of sand, a hose, or portable fire extinguishers.

Have extra workers on hand to keep an eye out for fires while hot work is being done. This includes areas where anything more than a minor fire could start, or if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Appreciable combustibles are more than 35 feet away but are easily ignited by the sparks
  • Wall or floor openings within a 35-foot radius expose combustible material in adjacent areas, including concealed spaces in walls or floors
  • Combustible materials are located on the opposite side of metal partitions, walls, ceilings, or roofs and are prone to being ignited by conduction or radiation.
  • Use a gas detector to monitor the atmosphere. Work must be stopped if a flammable or combustible gas exceeds 10% of the lower explosive level.

Fire watchers should follow the following rules:

  • Have fire-extinguishing equipment on hand and be trained to use it.
  • Be familiar with the various methods for sounding an alarm in the event of a fire.
  • Keep a fire watch for at least half an hour after finishing welding or cutting operations to detect and extinguish any smoldering fires.

Other Considerations

NFPA Hot Work Safety Program

The National Fire Protection Association’s Hot Work Safety Certificate Program was created to help develop awareness and understanding of dangers and safety procedures to promote safety on the work site where risk occurs. If you are looking to demonstrate that you and your staff are committed to the highest level of safety standards, enroll in the NFPA Hot Work Safety Certificate Training Program.

INSURICA is available to assist you with your risk management needs. Please contact us if you need help putting together a hot work safety plan for your workplace.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2022 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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