Hot Work and Welding

Hot work is a term used to describe heat and spark producing operations such as welding, flame cutting and grinding. There are two specific workplace hazards associated with this:

  • open flames or flying sparks that are able to ignite any flammable gases and vapours; and
  • the hot work itself may produce toxic fumes and gases.

Hot work should only be performed where strict controls are in place to prevent these kinds of risks from occurring. Consideration should be given to:

  • the removal of flammable or explosive materials before work commences;
  • the reduction in the flammability of materials (wetting down);
  • isolating plant;
  • residues of flammable materials;
  • testing for flammable and fermentation gases (e.g. methane);
  • special precautions (e.g. using a lookout);
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);
  • suitable tools, equipment and materials to be used for the work;
  • emergency procedures; and
  • the location of the fire fighting equipment.

Hot work and welding should only be undertaken by qualified and experienced personnel. Additionally, a hot work permit must be issued prior to the commencement of the work which outlines:

  • the process to be followed;
  • the controls which will be used; and
  • documentation relating to location, time and responsibilities for managing the hot work.

The permit is to be issued by an authorised person who is trained in the identification of specific hot work hazards, risk assessment and the selection of appropriate control measures to minimise or eliminate the risks.

Where/when will this issue be relevant?

From time to time it may be necessary for contractors to undertake work on site which requires welding, flame cutting or grinding.

What do I need to do?

  • Consult with Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) and employees regarding this hazard;
  • Identify the hazards associated with the hot work to be performed;
  • Complete a risk assessment for the identified hazards to determine risk priorities;
  • Develop and implement controls to reduce risks associated with hot work;
  • Develop safe work instructions to instruct employees on how to perform the hot work safely;
  • Train and assess employees in safe work instructions;
  • Issue a hot work permit to perform the work only in accordance with the control measures; and
  • Monitor the hot work to respond to any risks as they occur.

 

Legislation, guidance and codes of practice

Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004

Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007

Practical guidance

OHS Advisory Service 1300 074 715

DEECD Regional OHS/WorkSafe Advisors

Hot Work Procedure (PDF - 179Kb)

Safe Work Procedure (PDF - 195Kb)

Safe Work Procedure Template (Word - 436Kb)

Permit to Work - Hot Work (Word - 95Kb)