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Fire watches for surface welding and burning operations

A member has reported a number of incidents during welding and burning operations which had the potential to result in injury to personnel or damage to equipment or vessel’s.

Members are urged to consider the following fire watch precautions when carrying out hot work operations:

  • A suitably competent Fire Watch should be designated;
  • The Fire Watch should be provided with suitable fire fighting and safety equipment dependent on the type and area of operations;
  • The Fire Watch should be shown the area of operation and all adjacent areas;
  • The Fire Watch should be made familiar with all fixed and temporary fire fighting and safety equipment in the immediate and adjacent areas;
  • It is of particular importance that the Fire Watch is provided with clear and unambiguous instructions on the procedure to raise the alarm in the event of a fire. This may require the Fire Watch to be made familiar with the nearest active fire alarm activation point and be provided with direct communications to the bridge;
  • The immediate and adjacent areas should be inspected prior to welding or burning operations to ensure that good housekeeping standards are in force. Clean and tidy areas in the vicinity of the work areas may help to avoid any fire related incidents;

The Fire Watch should be in place prior to commencement and throughout the duration of the welding or burning operations. The Fire Watch should remain in force on completion of the operations until all involved are reasonably satisfied that the requirement for a full time watch can be dispensed with.

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

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IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.