Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Physical Plant Office

Hot Work Policy

All work involving electric or gas welding, cutting, brazing, or similar flame or spark-producing operations conducted on or near a covered process willrequire a Hot Work Permit. The permit issued by authorized Southwestern University Agent shall document that the fire prevention and protection requirements listed below have beenimplemented prior to beginning the hot work operations. The permit shall indicate the date(s) authorized for hot work; and identify the object on which hot work is to be performed. The permit shall be kept on file until completion of the hot work operation.

Before cutting or welding is permitted, the area shall be inspected by the individual responsible for authorizing cutting and welding operations. He shall designate precautions to be followed in granting authorization to proceed in writing.

Requirements for Fire Prevention and Protection

If the object to be welded or cut cannot readily be moved, all movable fire hazards in the vicinity shall be taken to a safe place.

If the object to be welded or cut cannot be moved and if all the fire hazards cannot be removed, then guards shall be used to confine the heat, sparks, and slag, and to protect the immovable fire hazards.

Where combustible materials such as paper clippings, wood shavings, or textile fibers are on the floor, the floor shall be swept clean for a radius of 35 feet. Combustible floors shall be kept wet, covered by damp sand, or protected by fire-resistant shields. Where floors have been wet down, personnel operating arc welding or cutting equipment shall be protected from possible shock.

If the above requirements cannot be followed then welding and cutting shall not be performed.

Whenever there are floor openings or cracks in the flooring that cannot be closed, precautions shall be taken so that no readily combustible materials on the floor below will be exposed to sparks, which might drop through the floor. The same regard to cracks or holes in walls, open doorways and open or broken windows.

Suitable fire extinguishing equipment shall be maintained in a state of readiness for instant use. Such equipment may consist of pails of water. Bucketsof sand, hose or portable extinguishers depending upon the nature and quantity of combustible material exposed.

Fire Prevention Precautions

Permissible Areas: Hot work shall be allowed only in areas that are or have been made fire safe. Hot work shall be performed in eitherdesignated areas or permit-required areas.

Designated Area A designated area shall be a specific area designated or approved for such work, such as a maintenance shop or a detached outside location that is of noncombustible or fire-resistive construction, essentially free of combustible and flammable contents, and suitably segregated from adjacent areas.

Permit-Required Areas A permit-required area shall be an area that is made fire safe by removing or protecting combustibles from ignition sources.

Prohibited Areas

Hot work shall not be allowed in the following areas:

  • In areas not authorized by management.
  • In sprinkled buildings while such protection is impaired.
  • In the presence of explosive atmospheres (that is, where mixtures of flammable gases, vapors, liquids, or dusts with air exist).
  • In explosive atmospheres that can develop inside uncleaned or improperly prepared drums, tanks, or other containers and equipment that have previously contained such materials.
  • In explosive atmospheres that can develop in areas with an accumulation of combustible dusts.

Hot Work Permit

Before hot work operations begin in a nondesignated location, a written hot work permit by the permit-authorizing individual shall be required.

Before a hot work permit is issued, the following conditions shall be verified by the Permit Authorizing Individual (PAI).

  • Hot work equipment to be used shall be in satisfactory operating condition and in good repair.
  • Where combustible materials, such as paper clippings, woodshavings, or textile fibers, are on the floor, the floor shall be swept clean for a radius of 35 ft. Combustible floors (except wood on concrete) shall be kept wet, be covered with damp sand, or be protected by noncombustible or fire-retardant shields. Where floorshave been wet down, personnel operating arc welding or cutting equipment shall be protected from possible shock.
  • All combustibles shall be relocated at least 35 ft. horizontally from the work site. If relocation is impractical, combustibles shall be protected with fire-retardant covers or otherwise shielded with metal or fire-retardant guards or curtains. Edges of covers at the floor shall be tight to prevent sparks from going underthem, including where several covers overlap when protecting a large pile.
  • Openings or cracks in walls, floors, or ducts within 35 ft. of the site shall be tightly covered with fire-retardant or noncombustible materialto prevent the passage of sparks to adjacent areas.
  • Conveyor systems that might carry sparks to distant combustibles shall be shielded.
  • If hot work is to be done near walls, partitions, ceilings, or roofs of combustible construction, fire-retardant shields or guards shall be provided to prevent ignition.
  • If hot work is to be done on a wall, partition, ceiling, or roof, precautions shall be taken to prevent ignition of combustibles on the other side by relocating combustibles. If it is impractical to relocate combustibles, a fire watch on the opposite from the work shall be provided.
  • Hot work shall not be attempted on a partition, wall, ceiling, or roof that has a combustible covering or insulation, or n walls or partitions of combustible sandwich-type panel construction.
  • Hot work that is performed on pipes or other metal that is in contact with combustible walls, partitions, ceilings, roofs, or other combustibles shall not be undertaken if the work is close enough to cause ignition by conduction.
  • Fully charged and operable fire extinguishers that are appropriate for the type of possible fire shall be available immediately at the work area. If existing hose lines are located within the hot work area defined by the permit, they shall be connected and ready for service, but shall not be required to be unrolled or charged.
  • If hot work is done in close proximity to a sprinkler head, a wet rag shall be laid over the head and then removed at the conclusion of the welding or cutting operation. During hot work, special precautions shall be taken to avoid accidental operation of automatic fire detection or suppression systems (for example, special extinguishing systems or sprinklers).
  • Nearby personnel shall be suitably protected against heat, sparks, slag, and so on.

Based on local conditions, the PAI shall determine the length of the period for which the hot work is valid. The area shall be inspected by the PAI at least once per day while the hot work permit is in effect to ensure that it is a fire-safe area.

Fire Watch

A fire watch shall be required by the PAI when hot work is performed in a location where other than a minor fire might develop, or where the following conditions exist.

  • Combustible materials in building construction or contents closer than 35 ft. to the point of operation.
  • Combustible materials are more than 35 ft. away but are easily ignited by sparks.
  • Wall or floor openings within a 35 ft. radius expose combustible materials in adjacent areas, including concealed spaces in walls or floors.
  • Combustible materials are adjacent to the opposite side of partitions, walls, ceilings, or roofs and are likely to be ignited.

A fire watch shall be maintained for at least 1/2 hour after completion of hot work operations in order to detect and extinguish smoldering fires.

More than one fire watch shall be required if combustible materials that could be ignited by the hot work operation cannot be directly observed by the initial fire watch.

Hot Tapping

Hot tapping or other cutting and welding on a flammable gas or liquid transmission or distribution utility pipeline shall be performed by a crew that isqualified to make hot taps.

Responsibility for Hot Work

Management

  • Management shall be responsible for the safe operations of hot work and shall establish permissible areas for hot work.
  • Management shall designate a permit authorizing individual (PAI).
  • Management shall ensure that only approved apparatus, such as torches, manifolds, regulators or pressure reducing valves, and acetylene generators, be used.
  • Management shall ensure that all individuals involved in the hot work operations, including contractors, are familiar with the provisions of this standard. These individuals shall be trained in the safe operation of their equipment and the safe use of the process. These individuals shall have an awareness of the inherent risks involved and understand the emergency procedures in the event of a fire.
  • Management shall advise all contractors about site-specific flammable materials, hazardous processes, or other potential fire hazards.
  • Management shall advise all contractors with regard to flammable materials or hazardous conditions.

Permit Authorizing Individual (PAI)

  • In conjunction with the management, the PAI shall be responsible for the safe operation of hot work activities.
  • The PAI shall determine site-specific flammable materials, hazardous processes, or other potential fire hazards present or likely to be presentin the work location.
  • The PAI shall ensure the protection of combustibles from ignition by the following means:
    • a. Ensure the work is moved to a location free from combustibles.
    • b. If the work cannot be moved, ensures the combustibles are moved to a safe distance or have the combustibles properly shielded against ignition.
    • c. Ensure hot work is scheduled such that operations that could expose combustibles to ignition are not started during hot workoperations.

If (a), (b), or (c) cannot be met, then hot work shall not be performed.

The PAI shall determine that fire protection and extinguishing equipment are properly located at the site.

Where a fire watch is required the PAI shall see that the fire watch is available at the site. Where a fire watch is not required, the PAI shall make a final checkup 1/2 hour after completion of the hot work operations to detect and extinguish possible smoldering fires.

Hot Work Operator

The hot work operator shall handle the equipment safely and use it as follows so as not to endanger lives and property.

  • The operator shall have the PAI's approval before starting hot work operations.
  • The operator shall cease hot work operations if unsafe conditions develop and shall notify management, the area supervisor, or the PAI for reassessment of the situation.

Fire Watch

  • The fire watch shall be aware of the inherent hazards of the work site and of the hot work.
  • The fire watch shall ensure that safe conditions are maintained during hot work operations.
  • The fire watch shall have the authority to stop the hot work operations if unsafe conditions develop.
  • The fire watch shall have fire-extinguisher equipment readily available and shall be trained in its use.
  • The fire watch shall be familiar with the facilities and procedures for sounding an alarm in the event of a fire.
  • The fire watch shall watch for fires in all exposed areas and try to extinguish them only when the fires are obviously within the capacity of the equipment available. If the fire watch determines that the fire is not within the capacity of the equipment, he or she shall sound the alarm immediately.

Mutual Responsibility

Management, contractors, the PAI, the fire watch, and the operators shall recognize their mutual responsibility for safety in hot work operations.

More than one fire watch shall be required if combustible materials that could be ignited by the hot work operation cannot be directly observed by the initial fire watch.