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Managing Hot Works on Construction Sites

Hot work activities like welding, soldering, and cutting present serious fire risks on construction sites. Fires often start when hot sparks ignite combustible materials. To prevent fires and ensure safety, it's crucial to establish and follow proper hot work procedures.

The first step is to avoid hot work whenever possible. Consider alternative joining methods like bolting parts together. If hot work must be done, take it to a safe location like a workshop where fire risks are minimised.

Before allowing any hot work on site, do a thorough risk assessment. Identify combustibles that must be cleared or protected. Ensure there are no flammable vapors present. Check for unprotected voids where sparks could spread. Make sure you have adequate fire extinguishers nearby and that workers are trained on proper use.

A detailed permit-to-work system is highly recommended for all hot work. The person overseeing the work must inspect the area, ensure all precautions are taken, and authorise the permit before work begins. Permits should be limited to a set time and work area. Require a fire watch during and for at least one hour after work completes.

Take extra care when hot work involves composite panels or sandwich constructions that may have combustible insulation inside. Assume panels contain combustibles unless proven otherwise.

Cover any nearby combustible floors with non-combustible materials or wet down and cover with sand. Protect or remove all movable combustibles within 10 meters. Cover any gaps or holes where sparks could spread.

Always use equipment properly maintained and designed for the task. Inspect before and after use. Store flammable gas cylinders safely.

Finally, closely control any hot work done by contractors. Ensure they adopt all safety procedures and permit systems.

Stay vigilant in managing hot work risks. Follow all precautions to prevent catastrophic fires on your construction sites.


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