4.16 Hot Work

Safety, Health, and Environmental Manual


These guidelines establish requirements that will help protect personnel and property during operations involving open flames or producing heat or sparks. This includes, but is not limited to, cutting, grinding, brazing, welding, soldering, thawing pipe, torch applied roofing, and other hot work performed at Church operations. The following guidelines comply with best practices for hot work.

Managers and supervisors should:

  • Establish regular areas where hot work should be performed.

  • Establish procedures for hot work in areas not designated as hot work areas.

  • Designate an individual responsible for authorizing, by permit, hot work operations in areas not designated for such purposes. The Church’s Hot Work Permit (see chapter 7) or other approved hot work permit can be used.

  • Facilities managers should ensure that contractors who conduct hot work operations in their facilities follow Church hot work procedures.

  • Help train welders and cutters in the safe operation of their equipment and in the hot work process.

The following requirements apply in hot work operations performed at Church operations:

  • Before the hot work operation, do the following:

  • Where practical, move the object to be cut or welded to a fire-safe location.

  • If the object cannot be moved, remove all transportable fire hazards within 35 feet (11 m) to a fire-safe location.

  • If the above cannot be accomplished, use guards or fire-resistant blankets to confine heat, sparks, and slag to protect immovable fire hazards.

  • If the above requirements cannot be satisfied, then hot work must not be performed.

  • When there are floor openings, cracks in floors, cracks or holes in walls, open doorways, open or broken windows, or other openings, take adequate precautions to prevent readily combustible materials on the other side from igniting.

  • Keep suitable fire extinguishing equipment ready for instant use.

  • Protect workers and other persons adjacent to the hot work areas by using noncombustible or flameproof screens or shields. Workers should wear appropriate protective goggles at all times. Others should wear protective goggles when there are no screens available.

  • Assign a fire watch for hot work operations in locations where a fire may develop. A fire watch is performed by responsible personnel who have immediate access to fire suppression equipment. The personnel watch and patrol an area for fire, and they take action in the event of a fire. The fire watch ensures that if ignition occurs, it can be extinguished as soon as possible. Typically, the duration of a fire watch is outlined in the hot work permit. Fires may develop in some of the following locations:

    • Where a significant amount of combustible material is within 35 feet (11 m) of the operation.

    • Where wall or floor openings are within 35 feet (11 m) of the operation. (The fire watcher should be in position to observe the opposite side of the wall or floor.)

    • Where combustible materials could be ignited by conduction or radiation through a floor, wall, ceiling, or roof.

  • A fire watch should:

    • Have fire extinguishing equipment readily available and be trained in its use.

    • Try to extinguish fires only within the capacity of available equipment.

    • Be familiar with the procedures and location for sounding an alarm in the event of fire.

    • Activate the alarm in the event of a fire.

    • Maintain a fire watch for at least one hour after the hot work operations have been completed. This will help detect and extinguish possible smoldering fires. Continue to monitor the area frequently for three additional hours after job completion.

  • Provide adequate ventilation for hot work operations. Special ventilation procedures or respiratory protection may be required for operations involving:

    • Fluorine compounds

    • Cadmium

    • Zinc

    • Mercury

    • Lead

    • Beryllium

    • Stainless steel

    • Aluminum (ozone generation)

    • Confined spaces

    • Cleaning compounds