Preventing Hot Work Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments respond to more than 4,000 cases per year involving hot work. Hot such as welding, cutting or heating activities, are the leading causes of workplace and industrial fires and subsequent losses. It includes any work that involves open flames and can generate sparks, such as soldering, brazing, torching and brazing – as well as work involved in energized systems.

The best way to prevent costly fires from these jobs is to ensure your workers are trained to act when a fire breaks out. The following precautions can prevent them from occurring in the first place:

  • Make sure your fire protection systems are in place before work starts. Make sure they are in proximity to the welding or cutting operations. However, they should be disabled until they are needed.
  • Make sure your employees know where the nearest phone and alarm pull station is in case of emergencies. A fire can make them panic. Knowing where they can get help will mitigate the situation faster.
  • Make sure there is sufficient ventilation in welding and cutting areas. This will prevent smoke and fumes from becoming breathing hazards and can also prevent fire protection systems from activating prematurely. The contaminated air should be discharged from work spaces into the open air.
  • If you cannot move the objects that are to be welded, heated or cut, you need to take every measure possible to confine the sparks, slag and heat the work will generate. This includes putting protective measures in place, which can prevent other objects in the vicinity from catching fire.
  • Do not allow workers to do any welding, cutting or heating work near flammable compounds and paint.
  • Fires are common workplace hazards and are especially common in industries that are heavily dependent on hot work. To prevent or mitigate heavy losses if one breaks out, make sure your workers have immediate access to appropriate fire extinguishing equipment. Fire extinguishers should not be removed from their holders or from their original position on the job site.

The best way to prevent fires from breaking out due to any type of hot work is via a written policy and safety program. Your employees should be trained to understand that no work involving high heat emissions or generation should be done without proper safety precautions. If the work has to be done outside designated areas, they need to get a permit from an authorized supervisor or risk devastating consequences.

This is where SIA Insurance Group can help. We offer a proactive solution to insurance and will help you come up with a custom plan to meet your unique business needs in Woodridge, Illinois. Whether you are involved in the construction business, manufacturing or the food industry, we can help you reduce/prevent costly losses with a detailed and cost-efficient plan. Get in touch with us today.

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