COURSE NAME:Hot Work Standard Overview


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Hot Work comprises work activities that involve the application or generation of heat during their execution.  Such activities include cutting, welding, brazing, soldering and the use of blow-lamps.


Hot Work, in the main, is associated with the application of heat either directly to, or adjacent to plant, tanks, vessels, pipes etc, that contain or have contained any explosive, flammable or toxic substance.  However, for completeness, due to the fire risks intrinsic to any Hot Work Activity, and the risk of personal injuries due to hot debris, toxic fumes etc., Hot Work is as defined in the above paragraph.



These should be carried out by a suitably competent person(s). An Authorised Person is someone who has sufficient technical knowledge, training and practical experience of the Hot Work Processes and their associated hazards to undertake a Hot Work Risk Assessment.

Hot Work should only be undertaken if alternatives have been discounted, i.e. mechanical fixing, sawing, adhesives etc.

If the Hot Work involves or produces substances hazardous to health, e.g. cleaning solvents, acids, welding fumes etc. then the work must include any additional control measures as necessary under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.




Safety Procedures for Hot Work

To control the risks associated with Hot Work operations, activities must be carried out in accordance with either a Standard Operating Procedure or a Permit to Work, depending upon the circumstances.

All Hot Work must be performed by competent and authorised persons who have received:


  • Awareness training of the hazards and precautions associated with Hot Work (a 21-minute video “Hot Work Risks” is available from the Safety Office),
  • Instruction in the Standard Operating Procedures and application of the Permit-to-Work procedure.


A Competent Person is one that is trained and experienced in the actual Hot Work activity and has duties as specified in Appendix 3.


All the control and preventative measures stipulated in the standard operating procedure or permit to work must be rigorously followed by the Competent Person and the other members of the team (where appropriate).

The work area should be made as safe as possible before the work starts, and all the prescribed preventative precautions must be taken whilst the work is in progress.  Refer to Appendix 1 for details.

On completion of the hot work, the area must be made safe and properly cleared up.  The person in charge of the work/team must decide whether to re-visit the work area, after a suitable period of time (usually one hour), to ensure that there are no signs of possible causes of fires. This should be stipulated as part of the procedure or permit if appropriate.

4.1       Routine operations in designated areas - Standard Operating Procedure

Lower risk, routine Hot Work operations should be carried out in accordance with a Standard Operating Procedure that has been derived from a risk assessment that covers these predictable activities. A lower risk operation is one that does not involve:

  • Stability hazards associated with the structure,
  • Hazardous residues that may be present within or on the item being subjected to heat,
  • Work in locations that contain, or are in the vicinity of, highly flammable or highly combustible materials,
  • Work in confined spaces.


The types of activities that would fall within this category include:

  • Operations in designated facilities i.e. welding bays
  • Operations in general workshop areas that are designated for routine operations,
  • Operations that are carried out in areas that will not be affected by the hot work.


4.2       Non-routine operations - Use of Permit to Work

Operations that are of a non-routine nature must be assessed by the Authorised Person to identify whether it may give rise to significant risks to those engaged in the work or to the building or to others that may be in the vicinity. Where this is the case then this must be carried out in accordance with a Permit-to-Work.

A Permit-to-Work involves a methodical assessment of the task to identify and specify the precautions to be taken. Examples of situations for which a Permit-to Work should be issued are as follows:

  • Work on vessels, including tanks and pipes, that have contained flammable materials or are lined or coated with flammable or combustible materials,
  • Work on vessels that may release harmful gases, fumes or vapours,
  • Work in areas that contain flammable or combustible materials that cannot be protected by following the Safe Operating Procedure alone,
  • Work in locations that could expose other users of the area to hazards, e.g. work above building entrances or on circulation routes (unless this is a regular activity for which a Standard Operating Procedure is available).



All persons performing hot work should be trained in proper equipment operation, handling and storage of welding materials, compressed gas safety, chemical hazards, and in working procedures, including the written hot work permit. Additional training may also be necessary in the proper selection and use of personal protective equipment. Training in confined space entry is necessary before working in such areas.

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