- Today, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board issued a publication related to Hot Work Safety, with an analysis of past accident investigations and possible methods to make the workplace safer.“Hot work” plays a significant role in oilfield, manufacturing, and refinement industries. “Hot work” can be defined as welding, fitting, burning, brazing, torch cutting, or any similar spark-producing operations that can ignite fires and/or cause explosions. This type of work is also found in many other industries such as food processing, pulp and paper manufacturing, fuel storage, and waste management.
When industries grow, so do the number of work-related accidents. Many of these accidents could be prevented by simple procedures implemented by companies themselves. However, these industries remain largely unregulated. But, agencies such as the U.S. Chemical Safety Board are trying to reduce industrial accident.
According to the Supervisor of investigations for The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), “Hot work” has become one of the most significant types of incidents the CSB investigates in terms of deaths and in terms of frequency. The CSB has thoroughly investigated these types of incidents since 2001. They have previously released safety videos and accident investigations warning about the hazards of “Hot work”, and they have identified seven key lessons aimed at preventing worker deaths during “Hot work” in and around storage tanks containing flammable materials. We have these listed below directly from the CSB website. To read more about this please follow the link below.
1. Use Alternatives. Whenever possible, avoid hot work and use alternative methods.
2. Analyze the hazards. Prior to the initiation of hot work, perform a hazard assessment that identifies the scope of the work, potential hazards, and methods of hazard control.
3. Monitor the atmosphere. Conduct effective gas monitoring in the work area using a properly calibrated combustible gas detector prior to and during hot work activities, even in areas where a flammable atmosphere is not anticipated.
4. Test the area. In work areas where flammable liquids and gasses are stored or handled, drain and/or purge all equipment and piping before hot work is conducted. When welding on or in the vicinity of storage tanks and other containers, properly test and if necessary continuously monitor all surrounding tanks or adjacent spaces (not just the tank or container being worked on) for the presence of flammables and eliminate potential sources of flammables.
5. Use written permits. Ensure that qualified personnel familiar with the specific site hazards review and authorize all hot work and issue permits specifically identifying the work to be conducted and the required precautions.
6. Train thoroughly. Train personnel on hot work policies/ procedures, proper use and calibration of combustible gas detectors, safety equipment, and job-specific hazards and controls in a language understood by the workforce.
7. Supervise Contractors. Provide safety supervision for outside contractors conducting hot work. Inform contractors about site-specific hazards including the presence of flammable materials.
Mario and Bean Legal Services will continue to fight for safer standards to protect industrial workers. If you or one of your family members has been injured while performing Hot Work, please send us a message.