Welding, Cutting, and Brazing

Policy

No employee of the University, contractor hired by the University, or subcontractor hired by the contractor shall perform any hot work unless a hot work permit is obtained. Hot work is defined as any temporary operation involving open flames or producing heat/sparks which includes, but is not limited to brazing,  oxygen cutting, grinding, arc welding/cutting, oxy-fuel gas welding, hot taps, and torch applied roofing that are capable of initiating fires or explosions.

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Authority and Responsibility

The appropriate department shall be responsible for following the hot work program in accordance with this policy. Facilities Operations, Physical Plant for campus buildings in which they provide services and Facilities Services Capital Project Delivery, shall follow the procedures below to comply with this policy.

Facilities Services Shop Supervisors are responsible for:

  1. Notifying all employees to the purpose and intent of the hot work policy;
  2. Making periodic inspections of areas where the hot work procedures are being used;
  3. Responding to hot work permit request for operational and maintenance work in a timely manner; and
  4. Recording all hot work permits issued into a shared database.

University Employees are responsible for:

  1. Understanding the University’s hot work policy;
  2. Contacting Environmental Health and Safety to request hot work permits and renewals twenty-four hours in advance for projects; and
  3. Contacting Facilities Services Supervisors to request hot work permits and renewals for operational and maintenance work.

Facilities Services Capital Project Delivery is responsible for:

  1. Notifying all contractors to the purpose and intent of the hot work policy;
  2. Making periodic inspections of areas where the hot work procedures are being used;
  3. Contacting Environmental Health and Safety to request hot work permits for projects twenty four hours in advance; and
  4. Contacting Environmental Health and Safety when a hot work permit requires renewal.

Contractors and sub-contractors are responsible for:

  1. Understanding the University’s Hot Work policy; and
  2. Complying with the procedures defined within the policy.

Environmental Health and Safety is responsible for:

  1. Responding to requests for hot work permits and renewals for capital projects in a timely manner;
  2. Reviewing the Welding, Cutting, and Brazing policy to ensure compliance; and
  3. Assisting in training of affected employees.

Note: Physical Plant and Facilities Design and Construction Project Managers shall contact Environmental Health and Safety to obtain a hot work permit for hot work that will be performed in campus buildings.

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Procedure

Prior to starting a project that requires hot work, Facilities Services Capital Project Delivery contractor/subcontractor performing the hot work shall obtain a hot work permit from Environmental Health and Safety.  Employees and contractors performing operational and maintenance work shall obtain a hot work permit from the appropriate Facilities Services Shop Supervisor.

Note: Soldering does not require a hot work permit, but the following procedures shall be adhered to:

  1. A safe area radius of 35 feet should be established prior to initiating hot work, if possible;
  2. All readily combustible materials shall be removed or covered with a protective blanket, floors shall be swept clean of wood shavings, paper clippings, textile materials, etc.;
  3. All cracks in walls, floors, or ducts shall be covered; and
  4. Fire extinguisher shall be present.

Notification

To have Environmental Health and Safety issue a project related hot work permit, contact the Environmental Health and Safety at 773.702.9999 at least 24 hours prior to the start of the project.  For operational and maintenance related hot work permits, contact Facilities Services Shop Supervisor at 773.834.1414 prior to the start of work.

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Job Site Inspection

Prior to the issuance of the hot work permit, Environmental Health and Safety and Facilities Services Supervisors shall inspect the job site to determine if the hot work can be avoided. If the hot work involves open flame cutting, an alternative method of conducting the work shall be considered (e.g., hand saw, pipe cutter). If an alternative method is not feasible, Environmental Health and Safety and Facilities Services Supervisors shall further ensure the hot work site is safe. All hot work job sites are inspected using the checklist contained within the hot work permit. Items included in the job site review include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Hot work operator(s)/fire watch are trained in the safe operation of their equipment;
  2. Apparatus used for the hot work is in good condition;
  3. Hot work operator(s)/fire watch understand the emergency procedures in the event of a fire or general emergency;
  4. Fire protection and extinguishing equipment is properly located on-site;
  5. Operator(s) are utilizing personal protective equipment; and
  6. The proposed work does not jeopardize the health and safety of the operator or others.

If the aforementioned criteria are not met, a permit shall not be issued until all concerns are corrected.

If there are automatic fire detection devices present in the immediate area that need to be deactivated to prevent alarms, follow normal impairment procedures to ensure reactivation of the system. Refer to the Fire Detection Systems policy.

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Fire Watch

Environmental Health and Safety requires a fire watch when hot work is performed in a location where the following condition(s) exist:

  1. Combustible materials in building construction or building contents are closer than 35 feet to the point of operation of the hot work;
  2. Combustible materials are more than 35 feet away, but are easily ignited by sparks;
  3. Wall or floor openings within a 35 feet radius expose combustible materials in adjacent areas, including concealed spaces in walls or floors; and
  4. Combustible materials are adjacent to the opposite side of partitions, walls, ceiling, or roofs and are likely to be ignited.

The fire watch shall:

  1. Be aware of the inherent hazards of the work site;
  2. Ensure safe conditions are maintained during the hot work operation;
  3. Have the authority to stop the hot work operations if unsafe conditions develop;
  4. Have fire extinguishing equipment immediately available and be trained on how to use it; and
  5. Activate emergency response in the event of a fire.

The fire watch shall be maintained during all breaks and 30 minutes after completion of the hot work operation in order to detect and extinguish smoldering fires on the floors above, below and adjacent to the hot work site if applicable.

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Permit Posting

The hot work permit is in duplicate. The top copy shall be retained and entered in the operational database and the bottom copy shall be posted in a visible location within the hot work site near the hot work equipment.

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Prohibitions

Propane gas shall not be used for hot work in any occupied University buildings.

Hot work shall not be permitted in the following areas until the conditions prohibiting hot work have been modified:

  1. In the presence of explosive atmospheres, or in situations where explosive atmospheres may develop inside contaminated or improperly prepared tanks or equipment which previously contained flammable liquids;
  2. In areas with an accumulation of combustible debris, dust, lint and oily deposits;
  3. In areas near the storage of exposed, readily ignitable materials such as combustibles;
  4. On a container such as a barrel, drum or tank that contained materials that will emit toxic fumes when heated; and
  5. In a confined space, until the space has been inspected and determined to be safe. Refer to the Confined Space Program.

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Protective Equipment

The welder shall be equipped with protective devices and/or apparel as indicated on the permit or as listed below:

  1. Portable and/or mechanical ventilation capable of keeping the levels of fumes, dust and gases below the thresholds established in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs). If local exhaust or general ventilation are not available and fume, dust and gas generation is high, respirators shall be used;
  2. Gloves, apron and/or jacket that are made of a material that is an insulator from heat and electricity;
  3. Welders helmets equipped with proper filter plate and cover lenses;
  4. Respiratory protection (NOTE: No employee shall be issued or be required to use a respirator until that employee has satisfied the criteria set forth in the Respiratory Protection Program;
  5. Screens to protect persons not properly protected from the visual effects of viewing arc welding or cutting and during gas or oxygen cutting or welding; and
  6. Lifelines and harnesses for work in confined spaces as set forth in the Confined Space Program.

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Storage of Equipment

Equipment and supplies shall be stored in a manner that will prevent the creation of hazardous conditions.

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Injuries/Exposures

If during the performance of assigned duties the welder becomes injured or suspects an occupational exposure occurred, such situations shall be reported in accordance with the Accident/Incident Reporting and Investigation Program.

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Education/Training

Employees shall be trained on all aspects of this policy.

Reviewed: January 2014

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