Welding and other hot work are frequent ignition sources. The National Fire Protection Association estimated that from 2010–2014, local fire departments responded to 4,440 structure fires per year involving hot work equipment. These fires caused an average of 12 civilian deaths, 208 civilian injuries and $287 million in property damage per year.

Both hot work operations themselves and the equipment and materials associated with such work can create significant ignition and fire hazards. Hot work creates sparks and slag and gives off heat. Materials, such as acetylene and oxygen, are used in gas welding and an electrical current is used for arc welding. Additionally, these activities tend to occur in buildings that are not designed for these materials and hazards. Hot work often occurs within buildings undergoing renovations, which are even more susceptible to ignition. Hot work can be either temporary or ongoing. Permanent installations generally have the ability to address ignition hazards more consistently.

Several different types of hot work would fall under the requirements found in Chapter 35 of the Oregon Fire Code, including both gas and electric arc methods and any open-torch operations.

The important factor in avoiding ignition hazards is preparing for and monitoring hot work activities. Primarily these precautions relate to basic fire prevention and fire control. Chapter 35 details a program that allows a facility to assign an employee to be the administrator of a hot work program as defined in Section 202. This administrator would be allowed to issue permits for work on site, would be required to perform pre work inspections and would be responsible for ensuring that the correct safety measures are taken. The fire code official has the authority to make periodic checks of these records, so they must be made available for at least 48 hours after the work ends. Chapter 35 of the Oregon Fire Code provides specific requirements general fire safety during hot works operations, protection of combustibles and fire watch.

Personnel undertaking hot work will have varying levels of familiarity with the building or facility where the work is being done. Often, the person undertaking hot work is not an employee at the facility and may not be under the direct control of the hot work program manager.

“Hot Works” shall include, but not limited to:

(1)    Welding and allied processes
(2)    Heat treating
(3)    Grinding
(4)    Thawing pipe
(5)    Powder-driven fasteners
(6)    Hot riveting
(7)*    Torch-applied roofing in conjunction with the requirements of NFPA 241
(8)    Similar applications producing or using a spark, flame, or heat

This standard shall not apply to the following:

(1)    Candles
(2)    Pyrotechnics or special effects
(3)    Cooking operations
(4)    Electric soldering irons
(5)    Design and installation of gas cutting equipment and welding equipment covered in NFPA 51
(6)    Additional requirements for hot work operations in confined spaces
(7)    Lockout/tagout procedures during hot work

Oregon State University has adopted NFPA 51B Standard for Fire Prevention during Welding, Cutting, and Other Hot Work, 2019 Edition.  The University will also comply with the requirements of the 2019 Oregon Fire Code, Chapter 35, Welding and Other Hot Work as well as OSHA 29CFR 1910.252 and ANSI Z49.1: Safety in Welding, Cutting, and Allied Processes.  Links to these references are available in the reference section at the end of this document.

Hot work managers and operators shall be familiar with the above hot work rules and guidelines prior to permitting or conducting hot work operations on the OSU properties.

TRAINING/CERTIFICATION/QUALIFICATIONS
Operators of welding and cutting apparatus must demonstrate understanding of, competence in and responsibility for their activities. A thorough understanding of proper welding and cutting safety precautions as outlined in applicable NFPA, OFC standards is a minimum requirement. Operators should also be familiar with general industry standards, as well as federal and state Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, manufacturers’ recommendations regarding equipment being operated and standards of good practice as detailed by the American Welding Society (AWS), or other professional safety organizations. Operators must be capable of physically demonstrating their knowledge of proper safety practices when required by the fire code official.

The OSU Hot Works Program will be managed by the EH&S Fire & Life Safety Officer.
Local application will be delegated to each campus organization engaged in hot works practices as outlined below:

POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES
Permit Authorizing Individual (PAI).
The PIA shall be certified by completing the National Fire Protection Association “Hot Work Safe Practices” course.  Coordinate the administration of this course with the EH&S Fire & Life Safety Officer.
The PAI can be a manager or supervisor of a shop or organization responsible for those performing hot work.
In conjunction with management, the PAI shall be responsible for the safe operation of hot work activities.
The PAI will be responsible for issuing and managing required hot works permits and staff training.
Hot Work Operator
The hot work operator shall handle equipment safely and use it as follows so as not to endanger lives and property:
(1) The hot work operator shall complete the OSU EH&S Hot Work online course (located in the Training Resources section of the EH&S website).
(2) The operator shall have the PAI's approval before starting hot work operations and shall be adequately trained in locally adopted codes and standards applicable to hot works, to include:
•    NFPA 51B Standard for Fire Prevention during Welding, Cutting, and Other Hot Work, 2019 Edition.
•    The 2019 Oregon Fire Code, Chapter 35, Welding and Other Hot Work
•    OSHA 29CFR 1910.252
•    ANSI Z49.1: Safety in Welding, Cutting, and Allied Processes
*    Links to these codes and standards located in the Reference section at the end of this document.
(3) All equipment shall be examined to ensure it is in a safe operating condition; if found to be incapable of reliable safe operation, the equipment shall be repaired by qualified personnel prior to its next use or be withdrawn from service.
(4) The operator shall cease hot work operations if unsafe conditions develop and shall notify management, the area supervisor, or the PAI for reassessment of the situation.

Fire Watch Personnel
Shall be trained in accordance with the codes and standards identified in #(2) above to recognize the inherent hazards of the work site and hot work operations and when required shall be on site throughout the operation.  Fire watch personnel may also be the hot work operator “if” they are able to effectively perform fire watch requirements during their operation and the hot work area is extremely limited in area and scope.  When that’s not possible additional fire watch personnel shall be assigned.

 

A hot works permit will be whenever hot work is performed inside any OSU structure outside of an approved welding room or shielded area and will be issued and managed by:
1.    On campus organization PAI (Facility Services, MU, UHDS, COAS, AG, etc…)
2.    Outside contractor supervisor/site-foreman
3.    EH&S Fire & Life Safety staff
Permits will remain on file for at least 48 hours after the hot work was completed.
Permits must be posted at the hot work location for FLS or CFD staff review.
A permit can cover “duplicate” hot works operations when the following apply:
-    Same hot work operator completes all hot work under the permit
-    Hot work is completed within the same building
-    Essentially the same operation and associated hazards
-    Fire watch dates and times will be documented for each separate hot work location
-    Permit shall not carry-over past one week
-
•    An example of this exception would be where the exact hot work process is being completed in several rooms or labs within the same building
All required permits must be properly and completely filled out and closed out at the end of each permitted job

UNIVERSITY ORGANIZATIONS
Any organization that wishes to conduct their own hot works operations shall coordinate such operations with the EH&S Fire/Life Safety Officer prior to undertaking such operations so the location, operation and personnel can be assessed and approved prior to beginning/continuing hot works.

OUTSIDE CONTRACTORS
Before starting any hot work, contractors and their clients shall discuss the planned project completely, including the type of hot work to be conducted and the hazards in the area.  Contractor hot works programs shall be approved by EH&S Fire & Life Safety prior to beginning work on any OSU property.

FIRE WATCH REQUIREMENTS
The fire watch personnel shall be trained to recognize the inherent hazards of the work site and hot work operations.
The fire watch personnel shall ensure safe conditions are maintained during hot work operations.
The fire watch personnel shall have the authority to stop hot work operations if unsafe conditions develop.
The fire watch personnel shall have fire-extinguishing equipment readily available and shall be trained in its use.
The fire watch personnel shall be familiar with the facilities and procedures for sounding an alarm in the event of a fire.
The fire watch personnel shall watch for fires in all exposed areas and try to extinguish them only when the fires are obviously within the capacity of the equipment available. If the fire watch determines that the fire is not within the capacity of the equipment, the fire watch shall sound the alarm immediately.
The fire watch personnel shall be permitted to perform additional tasks, but those tasks shall not distract him or her from his or her fire watch responsibilities.
Exception: Where the hot work area has no fire hazards or combustible exposures.

Fire watch is required any time hot work is undertaken and is to extend a minimum of 30-60 minutes beyond completion of the work depending on complexity of work involved. The time may need to be extended, depending on the specific hazards present, such as a large amount of combustibles or the facility being open to the public. There is an exception for those situations when combustibles are simply not present. The combustibility of the floor should also be considered.  The fire code official, or the responsible manager under a hot work program, is authorized to extend the fire watch based on the hazards or work being performed.
The fire watch shall include the entire hot work area. Hot work conducted in areas with vertical or horizontal fire exposures that are not observable by a single individual shall have additional personnel assigned to fire watch to ensure that exposed areas are monitored.
The term “hot work area” is defined but is necessarily a general definition because many things will affect the extent of the area. These factors include the type and application of hot work, the configuration and layout of the space and the types of materials in the area. Also, where, for example, many pieces of equipment act as obstructions or the shape of the room or placement of partitions blocks a line of sight, the fire watch may need to consist of more than one person.
The hot work operator may be allowed to act as fire watch if the hot work is very confined in scope to the immediate area where the operator will be working and there is no potential for hot material to travel beyond the immediate area – typically everything is contained within a 6-10 foot radius.
Individuals designated to fire watch duty shall have fire-extinguishing equipment readily available and shall be trained in the use of such equipment. Individuals assigned to fire watch duty shall be responsible for extinguishing spot fires and communicating an alarm.
The individuals who undertake a fire watch have specific duties. They not only need to watch for and notify of an ignition of combustibles, they also need to be prepared to extinguish spot fires with portable extinguishers. Intervention when fires are small is the best line of defense in extinguishing and controlling fires. Waiting until the fire department arrives will allow a fire to increase dramatically in size and intensity.
The individuals responsible for performing the hot work and individuals responsible for providing the fire watch shall be trained in the use of portable fire extinguishers.

STAND-ALONE WELDING FACILITIES
Permanent welding areas or rooms shall meet the requirements of the Oregon Fire Code, Chapter 35 and OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910 and shall be inspected on an annual basis by EH&S Fire & Life Safety

 

The following process shall be followed for all hot work operations occurring on the OSU campus with the exception of those occurring within an approved permanent welding area or room:
1.    Determine if the hot work can be completed outside or inside an approved hot work room
2.    Determine if a permit is required for the hot work – only exception is for work not classified as hot work, welding outside away from buildings or combustible vegetation or inside an approved welding area/room.
3.    If a permit is required the PIA is responsible for issuing the permit or overseeing the delegation of the issuance of the permit by a qualified operator.
4.    The hot work area shall be thoroughly accessed for safety and all hazards will be removed or adequately protected or shielded.
5.    A determination will be made if the hot work can be adequately managed by the operator or if additional fire watch personnel will be required based upon visual and physical span of control.

Hot works shall be carried out at all times in accordance with applicable codes and standards to include: (links to these codes and standards are located in the Additional Resources section of this document):
-    Current edition of the Oregon Fire Code
-    Occupational Safety and Health Standards: Subpart: Welding, Cutting and Brazing - Standard Number:  1910.252 General requirements.
-    ANSI Z49.1, Safety in Welding, Cutting, and Allied Processes
Hot works PIA’s and hot works operators shall be familiar with these codes and standards prior to conducting any hot work operation.