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Hot Work Program

The Hot Work Program provides written procedures to protect employees from hazards associated with hot work operations and to comply with all regulatory requirements for the safe operation of such equipment. This program establishes guidelines to guard against fires from heat-producing operations performed by using portable equipment away from the shop area. Employees must be aware of procedures to follow when welding, grinding, cutting or conducting other hot work operations.

Brazing and Soldering:  Soldering and brazing use molten metal to join two pieces of metal. The metal added during both processes has a melting point lower than that of the work piece, so only the added metal is melted, not the work piece. Brazing produces a stronger joint than does soldering, and often is used to join metals other than steel, such as brass. Brazing can also be used to apply coatings to parts to reduce wear and protect against corrosion.

Cutting/Grinding:  Any process which produces sparks capable of igniting combustible or flammable materials and transmits heat to the work material from a hot gas.

Designated Area:  A permanent location designed for or approved for hot work operations to be performed regularly.

Fire Watch:  Trained personnel who are in attendance during the entire hot work operation and are immediately available to extinguish a fire or take other effective action if needed.

Hot Work:  Any process that can be a source of ignition when flammable material is present or can be a fire hazard regardless of the presence of flammable material in the workplace. Common hot work processes are welding, soldering, cutting and brazing.

Hot Work Permit:  A document issued for the purpose of authorizing a specified activity.

Welding:  Joining together (metal pieces or parts) by heating the surfaces to the point of melting using a blowtorch, electric arc, or other means, and uniting them by pressing, hammering, etc.

Safety and Risk Management

Safety and Risk Management has the primary responsibility for the implementation and enforcement of the Hot Work Program and is responsible for the following:

  • Developing, implementing, and evaluating the Hot Work Program to ensure compliance.
  • Issuing hot work permits for work areas.
  • Reviewing hazards and incidents associated with hot work on campus.
  • Periodically reviewing and monitoring the work areas to ensure compliance and equipment safety.
  • Developing training programs for hot work operations.


Supervisors in support and administrative areas are responsible for providing the necessary direction and support to ensure the effective implementation of the Hot Work Program for their work areas.  Supervisors are responsible for the following:

  • Making sure that employees who will be performing Hot Work operations are properly trained on work procedures before performing work on campus. 
  • Selecting suitable employees that are trained in the safe operations of their equipment, safe use of the process, and in emergency procedures.
  • Coordinating hot work activities with the Safety and Risk Management Office so a hot work permit can be issued.
  • Having trained employees to monitor the hot work area for changing conditions, watching for fires, and extinguishing fires, if possible.
  • Returning all permits to Safety and Risk Management Office.


Affected employees are responsible for the following:

  • Before use of welding equipment, the employee must read and understand all safety practices outlined in the manufacture instruction manual for the specific type(s) of welding equipment used for the work process. Read and understand Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and safety requirements of this Policy.
  • Attend and complete all required hot work training.
  • Inspect all welding equipment daily prior to use.
  • Perform a hazard assessment before work or during non-welding operations.
  • Follow all required safety requirements as stated in the program.
  • Use all required personal protective equipment.
  • Report any unsafe working conditions to the supervisor.

Fire Watch Employee

A fire watch shall be required whenever hot work is performed on campus unless otherwise stated.  The fire watch employees are responsible for the following:

  • Shall be trained to understand the inherent hazards of the work site and the hot work being performed.
  • Be aware of inherent hazards of the work site or of any hot work taking place.
  • Have the ability to stop all work should work conditions become unsafe.
  • Have a fire extinguisher readily available and be trained on how to use it.
  • Ability to sound the building’s fire alarm system should a fire occur which is out of control.
  • Shall remain in the work area and monitor for fires 30 minutes following completion of work.
  • Shall not perform other additional tasks that would cause a distraction from their fire watch responsibilities. 


Affected contractors are responsible for the following:

  • Before starting any hot work contractors shall discuss the planned project with the WCU Project Manager and the Safety and Risk Management Office.
  • Obtain a hot work permit from the Safety and Risk Management Office.
  • Follow all guidelines as stated on the hot work permit. Return completed hot work permits to the WCU Project Manager.  A copy of the hot work permit should be submitted to the Safety and Risk Management Office.  

Hot work shall be permitted in the following locations:

  • In areas that are designated for hot work operations (example: welding shop)

Hot work shall not be permitted in the following locations:

  • In areas not authorized by the hot work permit.
  • In sprinkler buildings where the sprinkler system is impaired.
  • In the presence of an explosive atmosphere (examples: flammable gasses, vapors, liquids, or dust).
  • In the presence of stored combustible materials or uncleaned (cluttered) areas which could develop a fire.
  • In close proximity to drums, tanks, containers, or any vessel that contains or may have contained a flammable, explosive, or toxic chemical.

Hot Work Permit Procedure

A hot work permit must be completed prior to the commencement of any hot work operations. 

  1. Obtain or request a hot work permit form from the Safety and Risk Management Office.
  2. Complete the required hot work permit sections.
  3. The hot work permit must be signed by the supervisor, project manager, or contractor performing the hot work operations. Safety and Risk Management will sign off on the permit if approved.
  4. The required precautions checklist on the hot work permit must be in affect prior to starting the hot work. The hot work permit must be kept on site or close proximity.  
  5. Completed hot work permits must be sent to the Safety and Risk Management Office.

Hot Work Permit Validity

The duration of a hot work permit depends upon the type of project and the type of hot work being performed.  Normally hot work permits are only issued for an 8-hour period unless otherwise stated on the hot work permit.

Fire Hazard Prevention Guidelines

  • Whenever possible, relocate the work from the work site to the welding/maintenance shop area. Welding and cutting operations shall ideally be conducted in a separate, well-ventilated room with a fire-retardant floor.
  • When not possible to relocate work to the welding shop: remove combustible materials for a minimum radius of 35 feet around the work area or move the work to a location well away from combustible materials.
  • Protect combustibles with covers made of fire-resistant materials.
  • If possible, enclose the work area with portable, fire-resistant screens.
  • Cover or block all openings, such as doorways, windows, cracks, or other openings with fire resistant material.
  • When needed, have a qualified firewatcher in the work area during and for at least 30 minutes after hot work is finished.
  • Do not dispose of hot slag in containers holding combustible material.
  • Fire extinguishers shall be maintained in a state of readiness for instant use.
  • Welding or cutting is not permitted in or near rooms containing flammable or combustible liquids, vapors, or combustible dusts. Do not weld or cut in atmospheres containing reactive, toxic, or flammable gases, vapors, liquids, or dust.
  • Do not apply heat to a work piece covered by an unknown substance or coating that can produce flammable, toxic, or reactive vapors when heated.
  • Provide safety supervision for outside contractors conducting hot work. Inform contractors about site-specific hazards including the presence of flammable materials.
  • Cylinders must be secured to prevent tipping; valves are closed with protection caps in place.
  • Oxygen and fuel cylinders are separated and away from combustible fuel, flammable fuels, and heat sources.

All employees must wear required personal protective clothing and equipment as prescribed while preforming any hot work operations.  Personal protective equipment must protect against hazards such as burns, sparks, spatter, electric shock, and optical radiation.

Employees will be trained to perform hot work activities as outlined in this program and according to the requirements contained in 29. CFR. 1910.252.

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