Hot Work Permit

MIT insurance requirements (Factory Mutual FM Global), City of Cambridge Ordinances, State of Massachusetts Fire Prevention Codes, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Regulations and the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) require the application of specific safety precautions in the workplace for cutting and welding (Hot Work) operations.


Hot Work involves cutting, welding, brazing, using open flames or other similar operation that is capable of causing a fire. Hot Work, when not managed properly, accounts for major fire losses. The requirements outlined in the MIT Hot Work Permit Guideline are intended to minimize the risk of fire, and the potential consequences to life and MIT property. The permit process calls for review and prior approval of all Hot Work. Only Authorized Hot Work Supervisors can issue Hot Work Permits. Authorized Hot Work permit Supervisors receive training from EHS to fulfill their duties under the program.


Hot work and fire watch requirements:


What you need to know

“Hot work is a term used to describe cutting, arc welding or any activity using an open flame a n d thereby causing the potential for an uncontrolled fire. Because the need for hot work is common, especially with the many construction projects taking place at M I T, and the work is inherently risky, the EHS Office’s Safety Office has developed an MIT Hot Work Program.


How does the new Hot Work Permit process apply to me?


The Cambridge Fire Department requires that a fire fighter detail be assigned to all hot work jobs within the City of Cambridge. Any contractor who applies for a new CFD Fire Permit for the purpose of cutting and welding in an occupied building will be required to have a fire fighter detail. Contractors working on an MIT project must first obtain an MIT Hot Work Permit from an authorized Hot Work Supervisor. In turn, they must present that permit to the Cambridge Fire Department when applying for a Fire Permit.


Who can issue an MIT Hot Work Permit?

Only authorized Hot Work Supervisors can issue Hot Work Permits. Authorized supervisors receive training from EHS to fulfill their duties under the program.


What is the process for scheduling a Cambridge Fire Department Fire Watch Detail?

The Cambridge Fire Department requires at least 24 hours notice for single jobs. Larger jobs, which may involve scheduling multiple fire watch detail, will require a week’s notice.


Does “plumbers soldering” require permitting?

Plumber’s soldering conducted by either an outside contractor or MIT personnel requires only an MIT Hot Work Permit. A Cambridge Fire Department detail is not required. Assigning in-house fire watch personnel is acceptable.


Is a Cambridge Fire Department Fire Watch Detail required for emergency repair work?

If the work involves cutting or welding, notify the Cambridge Fire Department. The CFD will make very effort to send a Fire Watch Detail. In the event that a CFD Fire Watch Detail is not available on such short notice, the emergency repair work can go forward as planned.


Do welding shops/areas at MIT require a Cambridge Fire Department Fire Watch Detail?

No. The Environment, Health and Safety Office should have issued an MIT Designated Area Hot Work Permit to all cutting/welding areas and shops at MIT. This permit is renewed annually subject to an inspection. The shop/area must meet certain conditions to be approved for welding and cutting.


Soldering -- Tips And Best Practices

  1. Prevent Skin Burns And Fires
    Never hand someone a soldering iron, even if you think it isn't hot there is no way to tell until it’s too late. A soldering iron burns skin faster than a frying pan, stove top or oven. They usually operate around 500-700°F. Place the soldering iron back in the metal holder and let the other person pick it up.
    While soldering, be sure to keep at least 2-3 inches of length between the tip of the solder touching the heat and where you are holding it. This helps prevent accidental burns.
    Be aware of your surroundings. Create a soldering station free of combustible materials and an area where others recognize the hazardous work being performed.
    When putting away the soldering iron, always turn off, unplug and LET IT COOL before wrapping up the cables and stowing it away. A fire started when a researcher put a Soldering iron back into the drawer and left the lab in a hurry.  The custodian noticed smoke coming from the drawer when they started cleaning the lab.
    In general, hold the soldering iron like you would a pencil, keeping the wire running to the iron on the outside of your working area. This decreases the likelihood of you melting the power cable accidentally.
  2. Prevent Exposure To Fumes
    Always solder in a well-ventilated area. If possible, use a soldering hood to draw the fumes away from you. Over exposure to these fumes can be toxic.
    Wear safety glasses while soldering. Fumes and hot solder/ flux can irritate the eyes.
    Lead-based solder works better than lead-less solder. Unfortunately, lead is also toxic, so if you are using lead-based solder, WASH YOUR HANDS afterwards.
  3. Age Limit 
    High School students, who are learning about soldering, should be closely supervised to reduce the risk of injury.  Middle School students should only observe their mentors solder, instead of doing it themselves. 


Hot Work Permit SOP (certificate required)

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