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Seven tips for hot work safety

"Hot work" is a term that many factory owners in Louisiana are probably familiar with. It refers to processes like burning and welding that can ignite fires and explosions, so there is always a safety risk attached to it. The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has released a new fact sheet that gives much critical information about hot work safety.

The most common causes of death in this field are explosions and fires created by flammable atmospheres. Though hot work is performed across many industries, refineries and chemicals plants are the most frequent site of hot work deaths because they contain many containers and tanks full of flammables. The CSB has therefore provided seven tips to avoid hot work accidents.

The first is simple: when hot work can be avoided, do so. Alternatives can sometimes be found. Second, workers should assess both the hazards and the possible methods for hazard control. Before and during hot work, workers should use a combustible gas detector (properly calibrated) to measure gas levels in the atmosphere.

The fourth step is to drain or purge all equipment and piping beforehand wherever flammable gases and liquids are stored. Employers should have qualified personnel issue written permits, train all employees on hot work procedures and, lastly, provide safety supervision for contractors hired outside the company.

Should workers be injured, they could first determine who was at fault, as that will influence whether they choose to file for workers' compensation or file a personal injury lawsuit. Filing for workers' comp is simpler and does not require one to put the blame on anyone. It can cover things like medical bills and income lost during the physical recovery, but to ensure a fair settlement, victims may benefit from consulting a lawyer. Lawyers might handle negotiations with the workers' comp adjuster.

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