The use of open-flame and spark producing devices for welding, cutting, and other hot work is one of the leading causes of fires and explosions in North America. Tasks such as welding, brazing, cutting, and soldering pose a great fire hazard since sparks and molten material, which reach temperatures greater than 1000°F, can easily travel more than 35 feet.
Even though it can be dangerous, hot work is also an integral part of many businesses. If yours falls under this category, consider improving employee safety by setting up a hot work area and investing in proper hot work safety training with your staff.
Fire prevention safety tips
Here are 12 hot work fire prevention safety tips that could be included in your business’ safety plan:
- Consider investing in seamless, sealed, non-combustible walls and floors, as these will help prevent sparks from escaping the hot work area.
- Always keep a serviced fire extinguisher close by your workstations and train staff on how to properly use it.
- Keep flammable liquids and combustibles as far away from the hot work areas as possible or shield the area with flameproof covers or curtains that extend to the ground.
- Use thermal barriers to protect flammable liquids and combustibles that can’t be removed.
- Cover all floor and wall openings close to the hot work area with non-combustible materials to prevent the passage of sparks or hot slag.
- Sweep the surrounding area before hot work is performed and wet the floors if they’re combustible.
- Make sure no one is ever performing hot work alone in the shop.
- Remember to conduct a final inspection of the hot work area after the completion of any work, to make sure all tools and equipment are off. Regularly maintain and clean the area to keep it in proper working order.
- Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to any employees in the hot work area.
- Don’t perform any other tasks that create flammable vapours or combustible dust while hot work is taking place – even if it’s well away from the hot work area.
- Install welding curtains, screens, and an exhaust system, if necessary.
Additional measures to consider:
Create a hot work program
Establishing firm policies and guidelines on hot work safety will help keep your staff safe while hot working and make it easier for new employees to learn safety techniques. It can be a part of your general safety or loss prevention program.
Have a hot work checklist accessible for employees
Put up a hot work safety checklist in your shop based on the above tips to help employees ensure they’re taking all the proper safety precautions before performing hot work.
Make sure you’re covered
Accidents happen! Despite your best efforts and preparation, your business could still fall victim to a fire. That’s why it’s important to invest in comprehensive coverage. Learn more by visiting our Construction and Contractor’s Insurance Page today!
This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.