Fire Watch

Fire Watch

Athens, Greece. Workers at a lumber mill had shut down one of several sprinkler systems in the plant while removing a conveyor. As they were cutting bolts from the conveyor with welding equipment, some of the sparks passed through cracks in the floor and landed in sawdust below. The sparks smoldered for 3 hours without being noticed by the maintenance employees, who were the only people left in the plant. The fire spread, resulting in the total loss of the lumber storage and stacker buildings. New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. A contractor installing new elevator equipment in an office building set a number of fires as a result of cutting and welding operations. All of the blazes were extinguished, or so the contractor’s employees thought. However, when the employees left for the day, there was an additional fire left burning unchecked. The building was destroyed. Shanghai, China. A welder wearing multi-layer anti-contamination clothing, cotton coveralls and a full-face respirator failed to recognize that he was on fire and was fatally burned. What do all of these incidents have in common? They all occurred as a result of hot work – cutting, welding and other work that generates heat and sparks – taking place without an adequate fire watch in place. Many insurance companies report that hot work losses are among the top causes of loss at the properties they insure. That’s not surprising: a fire can do a lot of damage very quickly. What may be surprising is the news that most – if not all – hot work incidents are completely preventable. And a fire watch, conducted properly, is one of the most important ways to keep workers safe during hot work and prevent damage and destruction to property.

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Course Outline

  • 1. Introduction    

  • 2. Definition and Standards    

  • 3. Hot Work Areas and Precautions    

  • 4. Responsibility for Hot Work    

  • 5. Special Situations    

  • 6. Conclusion    

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the hazards presented by hot work.
  • Describe where hot work is and is not permitted.
  • Identify the safety precautions needed to prepare an area for hot work.
  • Explain the role and responsibilities of a fire watcher.
  • Recall the responsibilities of other individuals involved in hot work.
  • Know what emergency procedures need to be in place for hot work.

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