Hot work permit procedure

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Performing hot works, such as welding, cutting or grinding in areas containing combustible or flammable materials, without adequate controls being in place, is a major cause of industrial fires.

The establishment of a hot work permit system is required as a tool for controlling risks associated with hot work  performed by staff or external contractors. Hot work is defined as welding, thermal or oxygen cutting or heating, or other related heat-producing or spark-producing operations, such as drilling and grinding. When these operations are conducted in areas containing flammable or combustible material, the risk of fire is significantly increased.

External contractors, who are not familiar with the premises, are especially at risk of performing work which may endanger the safety of your company and its assets. Every effort should therefore be made to inform contractors and staff of the risks involved in performing hot work on site. Permitted activities should be strictly supervised and controlled to reduce the risk of fire.

Implementing a hot work permit Procedure

1. A responsible officer shall be appointed to be responsible for the safe execution of hot work on site, and shall have the authority to direct staff and external contractors in the performance of the hot work.

2. Before a hot work permit is issued, the site shall be thoroughly inspected and made safe by the responsible officer. Alternatively, cold methods of carrying out the work shall be adopted.

3. When the responsible officer is satisfied that the hot work may safely proceed, he shall issue a hot work permit (example attached) which must be held for inspection, at the work site.

4. Hot work shall only be conducted during the period stated on the hot work permit.

5. Operators conducting hot work in hazardous locations shall not work alone, and shall be provided with assistance as considered necessary by the responsible officer.

6. A suitable portable fire extinguisher shall be located not more than 5 metres from the work site whilst the hot work is carried out.

7. A final inspection of the site will be conducted by the responsible officer, after the work has been completed, to ensure that the area is safe and no smouldering materials remain. The responsible officer will then sign off the hot work permit.

8. All completed hot work permit forms will be kept on file for a minimum of two years.

Further information

Further information on hot work permits, hot work in hazardous areas, and preparation for hot work on equipment which has contained flammable or explosive substances, is contained in Australian Standard AS 1674.1-1997 “Safety in welding and allied processes”.

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