Definition of Hot Work: 7 Key Fire Watcher Duties And Responsibilities

By | July 9, 2023
Definition of hot work
Definition of hot work

Definition of hot work: Any activity or process that produces a source of ignition is called hot work such as welding, grinding, gas cutting, brazing or soldering, and heating of equipment or pipes for quality purposes, etc.

Definition of Hot Work

Any activity or process that produces a source of ignition is called hot work such as welding, grinding, gas cutting, brazing or soldering, and heating equipment or pipes for quality purposes, etc.

Hot work could be dangerous if not controlled by implementing proper safety measures. Always ensure close supervision by the job supervisor and safety representative while performing hot work activities. Hot work could be permanent or temporary, but whenever, and wherever it happens, It must be controlled. Hot work has a high potential to introduce a risk of fire or explosion in the workplace.

Cutting or welding an empty tank or pipeline might seem safe if you are using the equipment correctly. But what did it contain before? Was it flammable? Are there any residues? These all things must be known. Because a teaspoon of fuel in a tank can be sufficient to cause an explosion when heated up and turned into Vapour.

Example of hot work

  1. Welding activity
  2. Grinding
  3. Flame-cutting (Gas cutting)
  4. Brazing
  5. Soldering
  6. Heating of pipeline for quality purpose

Hot Work Hazards List

hot work.

Below is the hot work hazards list that can be present while performing hot work activity in the workplace:

  • Electrical hazards- Causing electrical shock or electrocution.
  • Welding & grinding sparks- Causing eye and skin burn injury.
  • Excessive noise- Excessive noise caused by grinding activity can lead to hearing damage.
  • Welding fumes- Lung disease may occur due to inhalation of harmful welding fumes.
  • Hot surface- Hot surfaces in the workplace can lead to burn injuries.
  • Open flame- Open flame can lead to fire accidents causing serious personal injury or even death and huge property damage.
  • Presence of Flammable gases- Flammable gases present in hot work areas have a high potential to cause fire & explosion. hence, conduct gas testing in hot work areas to detect flammable gases.
  • Metal dust arising from grinding activity- Inhalation of metal dust can be dangerous to your lungs.
  • Compressed gas cylinders (Oxy-acetylene)- Explosion can occur due to improper handling and use of compressed gas cylinders.
  • Presence of combustible materials in the hot work area- It will support to get fire and explosion in the workplace.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) light & infrared rays generated from welding activity- Cause eye injury.

Hot Work Hazards & Precautions

Hazards related to hot work have been listed above, here you will get to know what precautions you should take to mitigate those hazards and safely commence your hot work activity.

  1. Conduct the risk assessment of your work premises and process– An effective risk assessment should be conducted to identify the potential hazards and their respective control measures in hot work activity. The outcomes of risk assessment should be communicated among concerned task operatives.
  2. Obtain a valid hot work permit- An authorized person will obtain a hot work permit before commencing hot work activity. The job supervisor and safety representative will ensure effective compliance with the hot work permit to complete the hot work safely.
  3. Conduct gas testing- An authorized person should do the gas testing of the hot work area to ensure there are flammable gases available in the hot work area.
  4. Ensure proper training for the task operatives– All personnel involved in hot work tasks, must be trained in hot work courses and they should carry a valid hot working training badge that will ensure their competency to carry out hot work activity.
  5. Inspect your tools and equipment– Inspection of tools and equipment must be done to avoid the use of defective tools & equipment. All welding machines and electric distribution boards should be connected to the ground. No exposed power cables are to be used.
  6. Proper storage of compressed gas cylinders– All compressed gas cylinders must be stored and used in a safe condition. Empty and full gas cylinders must be segregated with identification tags. Don’t roll over cylinders on the ground, use cylinders trolley for the safe handling & use of compressed gas cylinders. Compressed gas cylinders must be kept in an upright position at all times.
  7. Ensure availability of fire fighting equipment– Ensure that fire fighting equipment such as fire extinguishers, fire blankets, etc. are available in the hot work area to extinguish the fire if happened. Always use suitable types of fire extinguishers (According to types of fire) to extinguish fire in the workplace.
  8. Deploy trained fire weather– Deploy one trained fire watcher in the hot work for the duration specified in risk assessment and/or hot work permit. Hot work should not be started in the absence of a fire watcher.
  9. Remove combustible materials– All combustible materials from the hot work area must be removed and non-moveable must be protected with fire-retardant materials.
  10. Wear job-relevant personal protective equipment (PPE)- Hot work-related PPEs such as protective clothing, safety shoes, welding helmet, filter mask, leather gloves (long sleeves), safety glass or goggles, face shield, ear plug or muff must be worn by task operatives. All PPEs must be suitable and of good quality.

Fire Watcher Duties And Responsibilities

Fire Watcher
Fire Watcher

A fire watcher is a trained and responsible person for continuously observing hot work activity for the detection of, and response to fire during hot work operation. A fire watcher has the authority to stop the hot work activity if he observes any unsafe act or condition that has the potential to cause a fire incident in the hot work area.

Some key fire watcher duties and responsibilities are as below;

  1. Firewatchers must be trained and hold a valid training badge.
  2. Firewatchers must be present in the hot work area for the duration specified in the risk assessment and/or hot work permit.
  3. Firewatchers should know how to operate fire extinguishers.
  4. Firewatchers should know what to do in case of an emergency.
  5. Firewatchers should have contact details of the emergency response team (ERT).
  6. Firewatcher should not leave the hot work area unless/until his replacement is deployed.
  7. Firewatcher has the authority & responsibility to stop the hot work activity if he observes any unsafe act or condition which has the potential to support or cause a fire incident in the hot work area.

Conclusion

All employees involved in hot work activity should understand the definition of hot work, the hot work hazards list, and precautions to mitigate those hazards to carry out hot work in a safe manner. Hot work activity should not be conducted in the absence of a trained firewatcher. Always implement adequate controls to complete your hot work activity in a safe manner.

Q. What is the definition of hot work?

Ans. Any activity or process that produces a source of ignition is called hot work such as welding, grinding, gas cutting, brazing or soldering, and heating of equipment or pipes for quality purposes, etc.

Q1. What is Hot Work Hazard List?

Ans. The hot work hazard list includes, such as electrical hazards, welding & grinding sparks, excessive noise, welding fumes, hot surfaces, open flame, presence of Flammable gases, metal dust, compressed gas cylinders (Oxy-acetylene), presence of combustible materials in the hot work area, and ultraviolet (UV) light & infrared rays.

Q2. Who is Fire Watcher?

Ans. Firewatcher is a competent and trained person who takes care of a hot work area. Firewatchers should be aware of how to operate fire extinguishers and what to do in case of an emergency.

Q3. What are the controls for hot work?

Ans. Assess the potential risks of hot work, Obtain a hot work permit, Conduct the gas testing, Deploy trained personnel to execute the hot work, Assign a trained fire watcher, Keep suitable types of fire extinguishers in the hot work area, remove combustible materials from the hot work area, and ensure close supervision throughout the hot work activity.

Q4. What are the examples of hot work?

Ans. Hot work examples could include, welding activity, grinding, flame-cutting (Gas cutting), brazing, soldering, and heating of pipelines for quality purposes.

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