A member has reported an incident in which a small fire was caused by hot work taking place on the deck above. The incident occurred when a repair was being performed by a sub-contractor on a steel plate in the forecastle area. The job involved using an oxy-acetylene torch to remove an old corroded plate. During this activity, the oxy-acetylene cutting of the plate caused heat transfer from the forecastle deck area to the store-man’s office area (located directly below the place where the hot work was being carried out). As a result, glowing slag fell on the store-man’s chair, which caught fire. There was no-one in the storeman’s office at the time. The fire detection equipment in the office caused the alarm to go off. There were no injuries.
Our member’s investigation revealed the following:
- Immediate causes:
- Fire watch location was not well planned by supervision;
- Melt slag felt on top of the store-man’s chair.
- Root Causes:
- Failure to control and conduct of safe work (permit to work planning failed);
- Failed check of the workplace;
- Inadequate risk assessment (warning about the smell of smoke in the store-man’s office was not investigated by the fire watcher).
Our member took the following preventative and corrective measures:
- Held discussion with all parties involved to ensure all understand their responsibilities;
- Ensured that any spaces identified as at risk of heat transfer from hot work are identified in the appropriate section of the job risk analysis beforehand;
- Raised awareness of correct identification of adjoining compartments/spaces in regard to hot work and heat transfer through bulkheads, decks, etc.;
- Double check (second pair of eyes) to identify any deck penetrations to improve spatial awareness;
- Ensure fire detection system is fully functional during hot work.