Reminder to plumbers about obtaining hot work permits

Work Health and Safety

If you overlook safety procedures, hot work can be extremely dangerous and your insurance may be void.

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) website has this description of hot work.

"Hot work includes activities such as grinding, welding, thermal or oxygen cutting or heating, and other related heat or spark producing operations. Undertaking hot work in an area where flammable liquids, vapours or gases, combustible liquids, materials, dust or fibres, or other flammable or explosive substances are present creates a significant risk of fire or explosion."

Because fires and explosions can kill workers or leave with them serious burns or other injuries, we cannot over-emphasise the need to be careful.

Hot work permits

If you cause an incident and don't have a hot work permit, your insurance company may refuse to pay out.

Any plumber doing commercial construction work or maintenance work should obtain a hot work permit and follow all the procedures it describes. The hot work permit will normally be provided by the head contractor, facility manager or building manager.

For domestic work where nobody is going to supply a hot work permit, you should create and follow your own plan. The critical requirement is to remove any flammable materials from the hot work area by at least 15 metres. If you cannot achieve that, then minimise or reduce the risk by any means possible. The plan may also include a 'fire watch' during which someone must survey the area for any smouldering or embers for up to two hours.

How we can help you with hot work permits

Industry specific hot work permits are included in the MPA Work Health and Safety Management System. Members can learn more by logging into the members-only area and selecting 'MPA WHS Management System' under Members' Resources (on the left-hand side of the page).

For more information

Full details of hot work safety requirements and a downloadable fact sheet are on the DMIRS website. See Hot work - fire safety essentials.