What is the importance of the Hot Work tab in the Permit to Work (PTW), in OHS Online?
A good question! The Hot Work section of the PTW must be selected whenever any hot work is included in any of the work processes the contractor does. Hot work is any type of work performed where flames, sparks or heat are generated and includes cutting, grinding, welding and other similar heat generating processes. This type of work is considered 'high risk' because of the high likelihood of fires or explosions occurring.
THE RISK POSED BY FIRE
When flames or sparks are created through hot work, there is a high likelihood that they can ignite combustible or flammable materials or liquids in the vicinity, creating fires. In the event this doesn't happen, fires can still occur from hot work, where the materials or equipment are still very hot from the work performed on them. If combustible or flammable materials are nearby, the heat they give off can cause these materials to ignite, causing a fire.
THE RISK POSED BY VESSELS, TANKS AND PIPING
The dangers posed with hot work increases considerably when the hot work is performed on tanks, vessels or piping. This is because more often than not, theses vessel types either contain flammable or combustible contents or contain residual components of these contents. If these tanks, vessel or piping are not checked before hot work is conducted, there is a very high likelihood of an explosion taking place.
The high risks associated with this type of work mean it is very important that checks are made and control measures put into place to manage these risks. The Hot Work section helps to ensure that these checks are made and that the necessary controls can be put into place.
In order to do this, the Hot Work section breaks hot work down into two main aspects, adjusting checks and controls according to their different natures:
1. Standard hot work
2. Complex hot work.
STANDARD HOT WORK
This type of hot work is the simpler of the two and occurs when there is no need for controls to be made for combustible, flammable or explosive contents. Examples include cutting, grinding or welding actions on raw metal materials or vessels or piping which contain inert materials such as water.
COMPLEX HOT WORK
This type of hot work occurs when there is a need for checks and controls to be made for combustible, flammable or explosive contents before any hot work takes place. Examples include cutting, grinding or welding actions on vessels, tanks or piping where their contents either contain actual or residual contents of combustible, flammable or explosive gases, liquids or solids. Dusts could also be included in these cases where they behave as flammables or explosively when heat is applied to them.
The Hot Work tab helps to ensure that formal checks are made and associated safety precautions are taken for any hot work, in order to ensure the hot work is conducted under safe working conditions. Through these measures, hot work hazards and precautions are documented and recorded, prior to hot work taking place.