One of the most prevalent causes of fire and explosion losses within the United States is open flames and sparks. Open flames and sparks, often referred to as “hot work,” includes a number of operations such as applying roofing materials, brazing, welding, cutting, grinding, soldering, and in many Northern areas, thawing of frozen pipes. All of these operations can involve the generation of sparks and the presence of an open flame that can easily ignite surrounding combustible and flammable materials. One specific aspect of all of these types of losses is the presence of human error. Human error involves the things that all people do, or do not do, that become the principal causes of all losses. The losses involve both company personnel and hired contractors, and include the failure to have a “Hot Work” Program in place, or to enforce an existing policy.
HOT WORK LOSSES ARE PREVENTABLE
The most effective way to control the losses is to implement and follow a “Hot Work Permit” System. PLM/ILM has developed a program to assist you with this exposure and includes the following preventative steps:
•Place fire extinguishers and hoses at the worksite.
•Sweep and clean all work areas within 35 feet of the operation area.
•Wet down the 35-foot area.
•Remove all combustible and flammable materials within the 35-foot area.
•Install PLM/ILM WeldCheck lights at the job site.
•Protect all hydraulic lines with covers, guards, or metal shields.
•Cover all wall or floor openings.
•Clean all “hot work” containers of combustible materials.
•Purge all containers of vapor residue.
•Post a fire watch during and after the “hot work” operation for two hours.
•Thoroughly wet down “hot work” area a second time.
•Discard all spent welding rods in designated containers.
•Complete a final check of the work area