Welding and Hot Work
Hot Work Guidelines and Permit Process
Hot work is any operation including cutting, welding, thermite welding, brazing, soldering (except soldering electronics or electrical components with an electric soldering iron, gun or solder pot), grinding, thermal spraying, thawing pipe, installation of torch-applied roof systems or any other similar situation.
Hot work is often associated with new construction, repair, remodeling, maintenance or other facility or equipment alterations. Outside contractors and vendors are of particular concern since they are usually not familiar with campus buildings, equipment and processes and therefore the risk of fire increases substantially. Some examples: Sparks in the presence of flammable vapors can cause spontaneous fire or explosion; smoldering material hidden from sight can burst into flame well after work has been completed and personnel have left the area; heat produced by hot work on one side of a wall can ignite combustible material on the other side.
Purchase College requires all employees, contractors or other vendors to be permitted for hot work through the Facilities Management Department prior to the start of any work within College owned, leased or controlled properties. This includes both interior and exterior work. This requirement applies to College employees, contractors and other vendors.
- Members of the Facilities Management Department, the Capital Facilities Planning Department or other personnel familiar with a project’s work scope must determine whether any planned activity involves hot work.
- The supervisor (Purchase College supervisor or outside contractor/vendor) of the hot work activity is responsible for requesting a Hot Work Permit.
- Hot work permits will be issued through the Facility Management Department. Facility Management personnel who may issue hot work permits are listed at the end of this procedure.
- A request for a hot work permit should be made at least two business days before the hot work is scheduled to begin to ensure that a permit issuer will be available.
- At the start of the hot work, the permit issuer shall walk the project to ensure all necessary controls are in place.
The Hot Work Required Precautions Checklist on the reverse of the Permit form shall be used. The following items are included in the pre-task planning inspection:
- Status of fire detection equipment.
- Arc welding equipment - the condition of welding leads, cables and grounding. Absence of standing water.
- Gas welding equipment - the condition of hoses, regulators and torches. Properly secured and labeled gas cylinders. Presence of flash back arrestors to prevent the propagation of a flame upstream.
- Hot work site clear of combustibles or combustibles are protected.
- Exposed construction is of noncombustible materials or, if combustible, then protected.
- Openings are protected.
- Floors are kept clean.
- No exposed combustibles are located on the opposite side of partitions, walls, ceilings, or floors.
- Fire watches, where required, are assigned by the requesting supervisor.
- Approved actions have been taken to prevent accidental activation of suppression and detection equipment.
- Fire extinguisher(s) (minimum 2-A:20-B:C within 30 feet of work area) and hoses (where provided) are operable.
- If required controls are not in place then the work cannot begin.
- An important condition to consider is the duration of the project. In cases where a project will take more than one day to complete, and that work is repetitive in nature, utilizes the same controls, and is performed at the same location, the Permit Expiration date can span the entire length of the project.
- In the event conditions change or unforeseen circumstance arise, the Permit in place shall be cancelled, the work and controls shall be reevaluated, and a new Permit issued.
- Once all controls are verified, approval can be granted.
- The hot work permit is to be available at the work site.
- After the job is complete, the form is returned to the Facility Management Department where it will remain on file for at least one year.
- The Hot Work Permit form is provided under the Forms and Permits section of the EHS web page.
Unless the Hot Work Site Pre-Inspection has determined that there is no fire hazard or combustible exposure at the Hot Work site, a fire watch must be maintained. The fire watch, as the name implies, maintains a work site vigilance in all exposed areas, looking for the occurrence of fire or other hazardous situations that could develop. They shall attempt to extinguish only fires that are within their capability and the capacity of the equipment available, or otherwise sound the alarm.
The fire watch must begin before hot work commences and be maintained at least 30 minutes after hot work ceases to detect and extinguish possible smoldering fires. The issuer of the Hot Work Permit may extend the fire watch beyond 30 minutes based on the hazards present or the work being performed. In any event, the fire watch must be maintained until all controls preventing the accidental activation of suppression or detection systems have been removed and the systems are functioning normally.
The fire watch shall include the entire hot work area. Hot work conducted in areas with vertical or horizontal fire exposures that are not observable by a single individual shall have additional personnel assigned to fire watches to ensure that exposed areas are monitored.
Individuals assigned to fire watch duty shall have fire-extinguishing equipment readily available and shall be trained in the use of such equipment. Individuals assigned to fire watch duty shall be responsible for extinguishing spot fires and communicating an alarm by calling (914)251-6911.
The individuals responsible for performing the hot work shall also be trained in the use of portable fire extinguishers.
Where fire hose lines are required, they shall be connected, charged and ready for operation.
A minimum of one portable fire extinguisher with a minimum 2-A:20-B:C rating shall be readily accessible within 30 feet of the location where hot work is performed.
Exemptions from the Hot Work Permitting Process
Exemptions from the hot work permitting process are made for certain areas/operations either because hot work is performed on a regular basis and the areas have been inspected and found suitable for that work, or in the event of an emergency. Hot work may be performed without following this permitting process when the following conditions are met:
- Facilities Vehicle Repair Shop – entire shop exempted
- Facilities Grounds Shop – only center of shop and concrete area in front of shop are exempted
- Heating Plant – entire plant exempted except areas within 35 feet of fuel pipes and combustible/flammable containers
- Natural Science Building Shop A (0005-0009) – sink and areas around grinders
- Natural Science Building – Bunsen burners, alcohol burners, small propane torches, etc. used for laboratory experiments on laboratory benches and inside hoods
- Visual Arts Building Metal Shop – entire shop exempted
Emergencies – in event of an emergency where time constraints to conduct an emergency repair do not allow this process to be followed, any Facilities Management supervisor may authorize hot work by either Facilities Management personnel or contractor personnel if the following conditions are met:
- The supervisor is confident in the ability of the persons performing the hot work to perform it safely
- Appropriate hot work safety provisions identified elsewhere in this document (e.g. availability of fire extinguisher, fire watch, etc.) are followed
- If during normal business hours (8 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday except holidays), notification is made to one of the individuals listed below.
- During other than normal business hours an email detailing the date, time, location, and nature of the hot work is sent to all individuals listed below no later than the first business day after the hot work is performed
Note: Although the operations above are exempt from the permit process, fire extinguishers must still be available for use in the event of a fire.
Facilities Management Personnel Who May Issue Hot Work Permits
Louis Wirtz – Associate Director, Environmental Health & Safety
Michael Kimpel – Health & Safety Assistant
Revised: May 04, 2023