Going forward, we will require that companies bringing in contractors to carry out “hot work” must designate a responsible employee to issue a hot work permit to contractors before they commence such work.
What Is Hot Work?
‘Hot Work’ is defined as an activity that produces an open flame or heat (sometimes simultaneously), and is typically associated with activities such as welding, cutting, grinding, brazing and soldering operations, normally as part of plant maintenance activities which are carried out in maintenance workshops.
Why Do You Need A Hot Work Permit?
Over the years, welding and grinding has caused numerous serious fires in the industry.
A good example was the Makro fire where renovations resulted in fires. More recently there was the enormous fire at Astrapak which caused more than R500m worth of damage. The fire was allegedly caused by a contractor carrying out hot work next to flammable liquids.
Hot work is therefore a well-documented cause of fire losses in commercial and industrial operations and has been recognised as a significant inception hazard for many years by both fire protection organisations, and the insurance industry.
Serious accidents can happen when cutting and welding is performed on closed drums, tanks or other receptacles containing flammable vapours or at warehouses where the sparks can ignite combustible goods.
It has been argued that these fires receive more publicity than needed. This may be true, but these are also losses that occur due to carelessness and inattention. If precautionary measures were taken, the losses might well be prevented.
- The contributory factors,
- When a hot work permit is necessary and
- Who needs a hot work permit.