“Hot work” is any task that involves burning, welding or using fire- or spark-producing tools, or actions that produce sources of ignition. There are numerous potential hazard areas on an oil job site, including well heads, fuel tanks, mud tanks, tank batteries, gas separators and oil treaters.
Reducing Hot Work Risks
Workers performing hot work are exposed to the risk of fire from the ignition of flammable or combustible materials, from leaks of flammable gas and from hot work equipment. To reduce your risk of injury, abide by these safety recommendations:
- Perform hot work in a safe location, or in places where fire hazards have been removed or covered.
- Use guards to confine the heat, sparks and slag, and to protect the immovable fire hazards.
- Do not perform hot work where flammable vapors or combustible materials exist. Work and equipment should be relocated outside of the hazardous area, if possible.
- Make sure that suitable fire-extinguishing equipment is immediately available. This equipment may be pails of water, buckets of sand, a hose or portable fire extinguishers.
- Have additional workers standing on hand to guard against fire while hot work is being performed. This includes locations where anything greater than a minor fire may develop, or if any of the following conditions exist:
- Appreciable combustible material is closer than 35 feet to the point of the operation
- Appreciable combustibles are more than 35 feet away but are easily ignited by the sparks
- Wall or floor openings within a 35-foot radius expose combustible material in adjacent areas, including concealed spaces in walls or floors
- Combustible materials are adjacent to the opposite side of metal partitions, walls, ceilings or roofs, and are likely to be ignited by conduction or radiation
- Monitor the atmosphere with a gas detector. If a flammable or combustible gas exceeds 10 percent of the lower explosive level, the work must be stopped
- Fire watchers should abide by the following:
- Have fire-extinguishing equipment readily available and be trained on how to use it.
- Be familiar with the ways in which to sound an alarm in the event of a fire.
- Maintain a fire watch for at least half an hour after the completion of welding or cutting operations to detect and put out possible smoldering fires.