03 - Hot Work / Contractor Controls
Hot Work is any portable or temporary process that produces sparks, flame or heat. Examples include welding, cutting, grinding, soldering, and brazing. Hot work presents a severe fire hazard, with Zurich's own claims experience indicating that almost 10% of industrial fires are caused by poor hot work practices.
Contractors are often engaged for processing, manufacturing, maintenance and cleaning. They may be unfamiliar with the process hazards, safety management procedures, fire protection equipment and risk management controls at your site.
What do we look for?
- The type, amount, and extent of fire load and hazardous materials present and available to cause or support a fire ignited by uncontrolled hot work
- Fire load or hazardous materials introducing an unusual (higher or lower) degree of exposure to the occupancy compared to normal expectations
- Conducting hot work outside the premises or in a purpose-built maintenance workshop
- Formal hot work permit system used by employees and contractors
- Removing or protecting (welding curtains) combustibles in the hot work area
- A 'fire watch' person supervising the hot work with firefighting equipment ready for use
- Formal permit-to-work procedures for contractors on site covering proper screening, training and supervision
- Providing site induction training for contractors to explain site rules, hazards and safety precautions, including proper work permitting procedures
Risk improvement ideas
- Implement a formal 'Hot Work Permit' system to supervise employees and contractors conducting hot work.
- Provide hot work safety training for employees and contractors who conduct hot work.
- Create a register of approved contractors. Approval of contractors can include experience or accreditation with international standards, skilled staff, safe working procedures, etc. Also verify contractors have adequate insurance (3rd party and workers compensation) in place.