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Are your premises safe for hot working?

Published: 29/03/18

Are your premises safe for hot working?

According to Aviva, the UK's largest insurer, approximately 10% of commercial fires are caused by hot works activities.

Common hot works processes include:

  • Gas and electric welding and cutting equipment
  • Blow lamps and blow torches
  • Electric or gas hot air guns, heaters or blowers
  • Bitumen and tar boilers
  • Brazing and soldering.

Tasks such as grinding and drilling may also be considered as hot works where flammable or combustible materials are present in the vicinity.

Preventing fires from hot works

Use this insurer check list to make sure that all reasonable precautions are put in place prior to any hot work activities. 

  • Explore all alternative methods to doing the job that don’t require the use of heat, for example cold cutting techniques.
  • Undertake hot works in a dedicated area away from combustible materials.
  • Use a permit for all hot works—click here to download a sample hot works permit.
  • Make sure staff issuing and signing off permits are adequately trained and authorised.
  • If hot works have to be undertaken within the premises rather than in a dedicated area, make sure the area is checked for combustible materials and they’re either removed or suitably protected before the hot work starts.
  • Think about how sparks or other flaming/smouldering materials could spread to other areas through voids, ducts or air gaps.
  • Have appropriate numbers and types of fire extinguishers available.
  • Make sure that all hot work equipment, particularly gas bottles, tar boilers and associated equipment, is properly maintained and in a good state of repair.
  • Gas bottles need to be appropriately stored when in use.
  • Gas bottles should preferably be removed from the premises overnight, if they have to stay on site for a number of days, make appropriate and safe arrangements for their storage.
  • Ensure that staff and contractors carrying out hot works are properly trained, both in the work itself and any emergency procedures.
  • Hot work equipment shouldn’t be left unattended when lit or hot.
  • Make sure there’s a suitable ‘watch’ period during and after hot works have been completed – at least a minimum of 1 hour continuous immediately on completion, with intermittent checks (every 10-15 mins) for up to 2-3 hours thereafter – subject to an appropriate risk assessment.

If you would like any further information about properly protecting your business call Flint on 0208 309 5000.


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