In short, yes, fire watch services are required for hot work.
Hot work is one of the leading causes of industrial fires and has been responsible for many significant fire losses. Anytime heat, flame, and sparks are mixed with an industrial setting, there’s the potential for catastrophe.
To prevent fires, fire watch services are required for construction sites with flammable work.
What is Hot Work?
This type of work is often synonymous with welding, burning, brazing, soldering, grinding, and torching. These are all common occurrences on a building site as this type of work is required to get the job done.
Sparks and molten materials can be scattered and dispersed more than 35 feet during welding, grinding, and cutting projects. It’s not unusual for the sparks and slag to reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees F or more when thrown from hot operations. A temperature of this magnitude can easily ignite wood, paper, flammable liquids, and any other combustibles found on site.
All designated areas should have at least a 35-foot clear radius of combustible materials, however, this is not always achieved, leaving the site vulnerable to the threat of fire damages. It’s often difficult to achieve a 35-foot radius around an entire site at any given point due to space restrictions and the number of moving parts on a building site.
Additional fire hazards from these areas include:
- Sparks: Sparks from tools can fall through the cracks in the floor or other openings, thus leaving the potential for fires starting in hidden locations.
- Heat on pipes: Pipes or other metals that come in contact with combustible walls, ceiling, and roofs can lead to fire through conductive heating.
- Working on one side of a wall: Work on one side of the wall can lead to combustibles igniting on the other side.
- Ductwork: Ducts and conveyor systems can carry sparks to distant combustibles.
Fire Watch Services for Hot Work
With so many variables and so many potentially dangerous situations, it’s vital that professional services be employed at all construction sites with hot work. Trained guards act as human fire detectors, keeping a close eye on not only the area where the work is being performed but also the areas where the sparks can reach and wreak havoc.
Hiring fire prevention services for construction sites is not only a good idea, but it’s also mandatory per OSHA (Occupations Safety and Health Administration). There are permits required to perform this work as well as other regulations that must be adhered to for safety.
You must check with your local AHJ (authority having jurisdiction) to define what specific regulations you must follow before you begin any kind of construction site work that has fire dangers.
The safest and most effective way to protect your construction site and the people in and around it is to enlist the help of professional fire watch guards who know the requirements and are trained in fireguard best practices.