PTW systems are formal management documents. They should only be issued by those with clearly assigned authority to do so.
Contact Fire Safety Training on 0800 774 7034
Fire Safety Training is a consultancy and training company which has wide experience of working with both large and small clients in the area of OHSE.
 
   

 

General Fire Precautions

If there is a fire, people need to be able to evacuate the structure and possibly the construction site itself to reach a place of safety. It cannot be over-emphasised that the main aim is to ensure everyone reaches safety if there is a fire. The means of escape may need to be considered daily on fast-tracked projects.

Buildings are often at their most susceptible during the construction phase. Some timber frame structures are vulnerable to rapid fire spread and possible collapse in the early stages of construction as the timber is not protected. Other building types may be more at risk later on in the contract when there is an increased amount of flammable material such as packing or solvents. Many modern building types involve the on-site storage of large quantities of combustible materials (often insulation).

 

You may not need a fully-documented PTW system where the risks arising from hot work are low. However, precautions such as having a fire extinguisher are still required. Site rules are an effective means of making these precautions clear to those carrying out such work.

 

 

Permit to Work (PTW) Systems

All hot work generating heat sparks or flames can cause a fire. To avoid this, PTW systems should be considered. Where hot work is not carried out often, and where the risk of fire is low, the need for formal systems of management control is less. However, as the amount of hot work and the risks associated with it increases, the need for formal PTW systems increases. They are particularly useful where there are numerous hot work operations taking place and where there is a lot of combustible material present, both incidentally and as part of the building structure.

PTW systems are formal management documents. They should only be issued by those with clearly assigned authority to do so and the requirements stated in them must be complied with before the permit is issued.

PTW systems are formal management documents. They should only be issued by those with clearly assigned authority to do so and the requirements stated in them must be complied with before the permit is issued and the work covered by it is undertaken. Individual PTW systems should relate to clearly defined individual pieces of work.

Do not use PTW documents as blanket authorisations to carry out hot work anywhere on the site at any time; they should only be issued just prior to intended hot work duty and end once the activity at that location and time has finished. (More general standards for site-wide hot work can be set out in site rules.)

 

PTW systems should normally include:

  • the location and nature of the hot work intended.
  • the proposed time and duration of the work.
  • the limits of time for which the permit is valid.
  • the person in direct control of the work.

 

Precautions to be taken and reflected in the PTW before, during and after the work include:

  • clearing the surrounding area of all loose combustible material.
  • checking for combustible material on both sides of a wall or partition, where work takes place only on one side.
  • having suitable extinguishers at hand and a careful watch maintained for fire during the work and following completion.
  • protecting combustible material which cannot be cleared.
  • examining the hot work area thoroughly for some time after the work has finished (typically this will be at least an hour, but ignition can sometimes occur much later than this – inform the night security guards where hot work has been going on and ask them to check these areas).
  • in view of the potential risk, it is a sensible precaution for all hot work to stop by a safe period before the end of the day.