Hot Work: Mitigating Fire Risks

June 24, 2024

  Hot work encompasses various activities that have the potential to ignite a fire, whether through sparks or open flames. […]

Male worker metal cutting spark on tank bottom steel plate with flash of cutting light close up wear protective gloves and mask in side confined space.


Hot work encompasses various activities that have the potential to ignite a fire, whether through sparks or open flames. Examples of such tasks include welding, cutting, brazing, soldering, grinding and using fire or spark-producing tools. These tasks possess the potential to unite all three elements of the fire triangle: oxygen, fuel and an ignition source (heat). To prevent fire-related losses, it is imperative to manage these operations effectively. 


Designated Areas And Hot Work Permits


To facilitate hot work operations, designated areas are specific zones designed or approved for such activities. In non-designated hot work areas, a hot work permit is essential. This document authorizes specific activities in non-designated hot work areas. These areas must be fire-safe by removing or protecting combustibles from ignition sources. In permit-required areas, safety measures take precedence.


The Role Of Fire Watch Attendants


Fire watch attendants must monitor the hot work area and undergo proper training. They ensure that an appropriate fire extinguisher is readily available if required. A fire watch is mandated in locations where combustible materials are within 50 feet of the operation point or if there are wall or floor openings within a 50-foot radius of the work area.


Safe Work Practices


Several safe work practices must be adhered to during hot work activities, including: 

  • Always wear the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to safeguard yourself. 
  • Store combustibles at least 50 feet away or protect them with flame-proof covers, metal guards, welding curtains or wetting them down to prevent ignition. 
  • Install flashback arrestors, at a minimum, on the gauge end and torch end of equipment. 
  • Clean up any dust accumulation before commencing hot work. 
  • Establish an emergency action plan before starting any hot work activity, especially in facilities with existing operations. 
  • Ensure thorough housekeeping is carried out in the hot work area.


The risks associated with hot work are substantial, making caution a top priority. It is imperative to mitigate fire risks effectively and prevent potential losses. By implementing these precautions and following best practices, we can protect lives and property while effectively managing hot work operations. 


Join Our Team


At FWS, we are always on the lookout for skilled professionals to join our team. If you are a welder, millwright or heavy-duty mechanic seeking exciting opportunities in a safety-conscious environment, we invite you to explore our Careers page for potential openings and become part of our dedicated workforce. Your skills and commitment to safety will help us continue to excel in hot work and construction. 




FWS is an industrial construction firm with a 70-year track record. We offer comprehensive in-house capabilities spanning project planning, design, engineering, procurement, project management, construction, commissioning and maintenance. 

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