OSHA mandates the presence of both hole and fire watch personnel in the Code of Federal Regulations. Fire watch personnel provide surveillance of areas where “hot work”, such as welding or cutting with torches, is occurring. Fire watch workers may be part of a welding team that make sure that no smoldering fires result from cutting or welding metal. They are a vital part of construction and industrial maintenance safety programs.
The main job for fire watch personnel is to sound the alarm if there is an emergency so that firefighters can be brought in. They may attempt to control the fire but their primary role is not to fight the flames, but to simply alert professionals so that they can come in and take care of it. A fire watch position is not permitted to perform any other duties.
Fire Watch Responsibilities May Include:
- Constantly patrolling areas where “hot work” is being performed, maintaining vigilance of potential fires.
- Being familiar with facilities and procedures for sounding an alarm in the event of a fire and having a means of notifying emergency services.
- Having fire-extinguishing equipment readily available and being well-trained in its use.
- Maintaining the conditions and requirements stated on the safety permit.
- Inspecting the entire work area to look for potential release of flammable vapors or liquids before, during, and at the end of each shift.
- Being prepared to operate fire extinguishers, hydrants, fixed monitors, and hose carts anytime.
- Never leaving the job site while the work is being done.
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