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Hot Work Program

Jessica L. Covington
Safety & Health Manager
334-734-1715 Cell

Hot Work is work involving burning, welding, or a similar operation that is capable of initiating fires or explosions.

Hot Work permits are used to lessen the chances of fires breaking out by making sure only qualified individuals are doing the work in a safe area and a safe manner.

This program applies to Auburn University employees, faculty, staff, students, and contractors who perform or supervise hot work activities in existing University buildings. This program does not apply to areas that are specifically designed and equipped for such operations, e.g., designated welding areas. This includes new construction sites.

Hot Work Examples Include:

  • Welding
  • Open-Flame Soldering
  • Brazing
  • Thermal spraying
  • Oxygen/Arc cutting
  • Heat Treating
  • Grinding
  • Thawing Pipe
  • Powder-Driven Fasteners
  • Hot Riveting
  • Similar applications producing spark, flame, or heat

Hot Work DOES NOT include:

  • Candles
  • Pyrotechnics
  • Cooking Operations
  • Electric Soldering Irons


Hot Work should not be performed if the work can be avoided or performed in a safer manner. When practical, objects to be welded, cut, or heated must be moved to a designated safe location, (e. g., designated welding areas).

If Hot Work must be performed, a Hot Work Permit must be obtained from Auburn University Risk Management & Safety BEFORE the Hot Work begins.

All precautions on the Hot Work Permit must be met prior to performing any hot work. The Hot Work Permit will be issued by Risk Management & Safety and is valid only for the date(s) and time specified on the permit. A copy of the permit must remain at the Hot Work location until the Hot Work is completed.

All personnel (employees, contractors, faculty, staff, students, and building occupants) must be suitably protected against hazards generated by the work(e. g., heat, sparks, fumes, welding rays, etc.) This may include, but is not limited to, the use of personal protective equipment, shields, screens, or local exhaust ventilation.

Prohibited Conditions

A Hot Work Permit WILL NOT be issued if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Combustible or flammable materials are within 35 feet and cannot be moved or protected.
  • Floor and wall openings cannot be covered.
  • Cutting or welding on pipes or other metals can conduct enough heat to ignite nearby combustible materials.
  • Any condition that could result in undue hazards by performing the work.

Permit Authorizing Individuals (PAIs)

PAIs are trained Risk Management & Safety (RMS) representatives. Authorized individuals have been trained and approved to issue a Hot Work permit on behalf of RMS. RMS will contact the authorized individual to attend permit issuance meeting.


  • Determine site-specific flammable materials, hazardous processes, other potential fire hazards present or likely in work location.
  • Ensure fire protection and extinguishing equipment properly located at site.
  • Ensure fire watch available on site.

Management Responsibilities

  • Advise all contractors about site-specific flammable materials, hazardous processes, and other fire hazards.
  • Ensure all individuals, including contractors, are aware of inherent risks involved and emergency procedures.
  • Ensure hot work procedures are being followed.
  • Ensure that contractors follow University procedures and that Hot work is only done in areas permitted by PAI.

Supervisor Responsibilities

  • Ensure that all employees and contractors are following hot work procedures.
  • Ensure that a hot work permit is issued prior to the start of work.
  • Ensure that all cutting and welding equipment is in good condition.
  • Ensure that all employees are suitably trained in the operation of the equipment and safe use of the process.
  • Ensure that contractors follow University procedures. This includes outage procedures for fire alarm and sprinkler.

Employee Responsibilities

  • Follow and use hot work procedures.
  • Obtain a hot work permit prior to starting work.
  • Ensure that all cutting and welding equipment is in satisfactory condition and in good repair.
  • Attend and actively participate in training sessions.
  • Protect nearby personnel and passersby against heat, sparks, etc. when working in occupied buildings.
  • Use PPE as required.

Fire Watch

Fire Watch are trained personnel who are in attendance during the entire hot work operation and are immediately available to extinguish a fire or take other effective action if needed.

Fire Watch is required when:

  • There are wall or floor openings within 35 feet of the work expose combustibles in adjacent areas including confined spaces.
  • Combustibles could be ignited by conduction or radiation through metal partitions, walls, ceilings, or roofs.
  • Anytime hot work is conducted.

Responsibilities of Fire Watch:

  • Awareness of inherent hazards of work site and hot work.
  • Ensure safe conditions maintained during hot work.
  • Authority to stop operations if unsafe conditions develop.
  • Ensure proper fire extinguishing equipment is readily available & be trained in its use.
  • Familiar with facilities and procedures for sounding alarm in event of fire.
  • Watch for fires in all exposed areas.
    • May extinguish fires contained to a small area.
    • Sound alarm when appropriate.
    • Call 911.
  • Maintain watch at least ½ hour after hot work has been completed.

Permit Requirements

Equipment must be in good operating condition.

Floor must be free of combustible materials (paper clippings, wood shavings, textile fibers, etc.) for radius of 35 ft.

Combustible floors (except wood on concrete) must be kept wet and/or covered with damp sand.

Combustibles should be relocated at least a 35 ft. radius from work area.

  • If not feasible, one of the following should be in effect:
    • Protected with fire-retardant covers.
    • Shielded with metal or fire-retardant guards/curtains.
      • Edges of covers at floor.

Openings or cracks in walls, floors, ducts within 35 ft. of site must be tightly covered with fire-retardant or noncombustible material.

Conveyor systems must be shielded.

Work near walls/partitions/ceilings/roofs of combustible construction must be protected by fire-retardant shields/guards.

Work on wall/partition/ceiling/roof requires fire watch on both sides to prevent ignition of combustibles.

There must be fully charged/operable fire extinguishers of appropriate type available in immediate work area.

If close to sprinkler head or smoke/heat detector an outage must be requested. Planned outage and interruption requests must be submitted to Auburn University Facilities Work Management. Contractors should contact their University Project Manager to initiate this request.

  • Outages require 5 days notice unless it is an emergency.

Nearby personnel (including students, faculty, staff, and visitors) must be suitably protected against heat, sparks, slag, etc.

Permit length is determined by PAI but permit length will be no longer than one week; unless explicitly specified through prior arrangement with Risk Management and Safety.

While permit is in effect, PAI will perform routine inspections based on PAI’s schedule and availability. Inspections may occur at any time during the course of the permit.