Hot Work Information Guide
Hot work can be the spark that causes many fires. So if you use welding, brazing, cutting or other flame or heat operating equipment as part of your operations you need to know about those risks and how to manage them.
Hazard and safety information
- Hot work is the use of welding, brazing, cutting or other flame or heat operating equipment.
- For clients that undertake hot work FMG, like most insurance companies, adds a term to their policy making it a condition that prior to any hot work activities they comply with NZS 4781.
- The NZS 4781 is the New Zealand Code of Practice for Safety in Welding and Cutting and is the standard for protecting people and property from the hazards that can arise from hot work activities.
- As with all fire risks though it is not just the potential damage or loss to a physical asset but also the associated impact and interruption to your business and the potentially devastating impact of loss of life.
Welding poses a range of hazards to health and safety. These can be immediate or long term effects:
- Fires and Explosions
- Electric Shock
- Compressed Gases
- Hazardous Substances
- Toxic Gases
- Heat Stress
- Noise and Vibration
- Levels of training and skills required depend on the specific task at hand. Certain job types require a higher level of skill and competency than general purpose welding. It is essential that workers have the correct level of training and skill to carry out the task at hand.
- Training can be completed and competency demonstrated through qualifications issued by registered training organisations (e.g. ITO) or through the completion of welding standards offered by the National Qualifications Framework.
- Welders should not use equipment for which they are not trained and certified.
- Welding safety should be considered a team effort.
- Utilising both experience and skill in conjunction with training and qualifications. Experienced team leaders should actively coach team members, and team members should refer to them for confirmation of correct processes and practices.
Image Source: WorkSafe NZ
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- All persons carrying out hot work should be wearing a range of PPE, similar to the range shown here (image source WorkSafe NZ).
- Wearing PPE helps to reduce risks that workers carrying out hot work face.
- Welding helmets should have a suitable arc flash filter for the task at hand, with a minimum of shade 10.
- The use of eye protection and dark clothing is essential in protection against UV rays. Welding without PPE may expose bare skin to the welding arc.
- Eye protection must be worn when using tools such as chipping hammers or powered grinders to prepare deslag metal.
- A helmet does not protect against fumes, for this reason a respirator should be included in your PPE and worn by persons completing hot work.
Hot Work Permits
- Work is subject to a hot work permit if it is outside of a designated welding bay or area or:
- The object to be welded or cut cannot be moved; and
- If all fire hazards cannot be removed.
- Fire resistant shields need to be used to confine the heat, sparks etc. and to protect any immovable fire hazards.
- This involves having a Chief Fire Warden/Principal Supervisor or other appointed person inspecting the work area, confirming precautions have been taken to prevent the fire and that a permit has been issued.
- Anyone carrying out the work needs a permit.
- The permit needs to be issued by a supervisor or manager. Contractors are not permitted to conduct hot work without the authorisation of the principal.
- At completion the person doing the work obtains sign off from the supervisor and the permit is to then be retained.
- Permits should not be issued as open-ended permits.
- Work outside these general guidelines require further precautions.
- Appoint a fire watcher to monitor all aspects of the work being conducted.
- They should be trained in the proper use of extinguishing equipment and keep watch for 60 minutes after work is completed.
- Specific measures, outside of this general advice are required for:
- Cutting or welding of drums that have or may have contained flammable liquids.
- Hot work in any confined space.
- Hot work in any area containing flammable vapours or explosive dusts.
- Special care is also required when engaged in welding and cutting in areas containing expanded polystyrene sandwich insulation ("EPS") panels.
FMG has referred to the Willis Re Hot Work Factsheet and Worksafe NZ when writing this Hot Work Information Guide.
Please note this is only a summary of the Hot Work term and is subject to our specific product documentation. For full details you should refer to the Material Damage policy here.
FMG Hot Work Pack
To help you keep this hot work information top of mind we've put together a Hot Work Pack. Each pack contains an information sheet, 10 FMG hot work permits*, a checklist and a sticker. Please note Hot Work packs are available for FMG clients only.
*Please note the FMG Hot Work Permit is for simple operations and based on those outlined in NZS 4781 and WorkSafe NZ advice documents. More complex and hazardous operations may require more details of the welding actions and activities. The supervisor must ensure all safety precautions are met before issuing the permit. The operator should hold the top section of the permit while completing the hot work with the hook tagged to the welding set or clearly displayed in the work area. The supervisor should retain the tear-away section of the permit for their records and final safety sign off.