The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has released a fact sheet highlighting the hazards of and safety precautions for hot work,
The CBS found that explosions and fires caused by hot work are among the most common incidents it investigates. These incidents typically result in injuries and fatalities and have the potential to result in a major catastrophic incident.
Hot work is defined as burning, welding, or similar operations that can ignite fires or explosions. Hot work incidents occur throughout many industries in the United States, including food processing, pulp and paper manufacturing, oil production, fuel storage, and waste treatment.
Hot work includes welding, brazing, cutting, soldering, thawing pipes, using heat guns, torch applied roofing and chipping operations, or the use of spark-producing power tools, such as drilling or grinding. It could also be mechanical friction from gears rubbing or a static discharge from an employee’s shoes.
Flammable, combustible, or ignitable materials should be kept a minimum of 20 to 35 feet away from the hot work, or those materials should be covered with a flame-retardant covering for protection.
Companies that have flammable, combustible, or ignitable materials and need to perform hot work in and around these materials need to have a Hot Work Program.