Hot work risk management

Are your clients managing Hot Work properly?

Hot work is a high-risk activity that can lead to severe injuries and property loss. This article helps you and your clients understand hot work and what can be done to manage it effectively.

Common hot work activities include anything that uses:

  • Gas and electric welding and cutting equipment
  • Blow lamps and blow torches
  • Electric or gas hot air guns, heaters or blowers
  • Bitumen and tar boilers
  • Angle grinders and grinding wheels
  • Brazing and soldering equipment
  • Drills
  • Any other equipment that can produce a spark, frictional heat or flame.

What procedures and controls do businesses need in place?

Whilst hot work should be considered a last resort and only authorised where a safer method is unavailable, the good news is that the risks of hot work can be greatly reduced if the correct assessment procedures and controls are in place. This would include:

  • Formal procedures – which apply to employees as well as contractors.
  • The hot work permit – it’s essential that people who are nominated to authorise hot work have experience or training in the associated hazards. The hot work permit should be completed and issued based on method statements and fire risk assessment for the works as well as a physical inspection of the work equipment and the area, immediately prior to the work commencing. Learn more about permits in the Hot Work podcast.
  • Briefing and training – everyone who is required to sign or abide by the conditions of a permit must receive an appropriate briefing or training.
  • Spot checks and audits – including completed permits, training records and public liability insurances.
  • Managing contractors – checking the competency wherever contractors or sub-contractors are used.

For more details on how to implement a risk assessment, including information on how to review the works, investigate the work area, and deciding whether it’s safe to proceed, or information about hot work permits, read our ‘Hot Work Operations’ Loss Prevention Standard.

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