How do you keep premises safe while carrying out hot works?

Article publish date: Wednesday 10 January 2018

Our figures show that approximately 10% of commercial fires are caused by hot works activities.



What are hot works?

Common hot work processes include:

  • Gas and electric welding and cutting equipment
  • Blow lamps and blow torches
  • Electric or gas hot air guns, heaters or blowers
  • Bitumen and tar boilers
  • Brazing and soldering.

Tasks such as grinding and drilling may also be considered hot works where flammable or combustible materials are present in the vicinity.

How do I prevent fires from hot works?

  • Use alternative methods to doing the job that don’t require the use of heat - for example cold cutting techniques.
  • Undertake hot works in a dedicated area away from combustible materials.
  • Use a permit for all hot works – a sample permit can be found here
  • Make sure staff issuing and signing off permits are adequately trained and authorised.
  • If hot works have to be undertaken within the premises rather than in a dedicated area, make sure the area is checked for combustible materials and they’re either removed or suitably protected before the hot work starts.
  • Think about how sparks or other flaming/smouldering materials could spread to other areas through voids, ducts or air gaps.
  • Have appropriate numbers and types of fire extinguishers available.
  • Make sure that all hot work equipment, particularly gas bottles, tar boilers and associated equipment, is properly maintained and in a good state of repair.
  • Gas bottles need to be appropriately stored when in use.
  • Gas bottles should preferably be removed from the premises overnight, if they have to stay on site for a number of days, make appropriate and safe arrangements for their storage.
  • Ensure that staff and contractors carrying out hot works are properly trained, both in the work itself and any emergency procedures.
  • Hot work equipment shouldn’t be left unattended when lit or hot.
  • Make sure there’s a suitable ‘watch’ period during and after hot works have been completed – at least a minimum of 1 hour continuous immediately on completion, with intermittent checks (every 10-15 mins) for up to 2-3 hours thereafter – subject to an appropriate risk assessment.

For more information have a look at our Aviva Loss Prevention Standard Guide.

If you’d like more information or assistance visit Aviva Risk Management Solutions or contact us at

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