Workers in Pennsylvania are considered to be engaged in hot work if a job results in the creation of flames, sparks or heat in general. Drilling, welding and cutting are examples of jobs that could be considered hot work. According to groups such as the National Fire Protection Association, it may be beneficial for an employer to look for alternatives to doing hot work.
This is because such tasks may come with a risk of starting fires that could lead to injuries or deaths on the job. If hot work must be done, it should be done in a designated area that is free from combustible or flammable components. It should also be kept separate from other nearby facilities or work areas. If a designated area is not available, it may be necessary to do a hazard assessment as part of the hot work permit process.
Flammable materials should be kept at least 35 feet away from any hot work site. However, the distance may need to be increased depending on weather and site conditions. This increases the odds that they can’t mix with oxygen and heat produced while hot work is being conducted. In the event that combustible materials cannot be moved far enough, they should be shielded properly.
Even if these protocols are followed, on-the-job injuries will unfortunately continue to be fact of life, regardless of industry or occupation. Most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage, and employees who are injured on the job regardless of fault might want to meet with an attorney to learn about the steps that are required to seek benefits.