Safe Use of Oxy-Fuel and PTW Systems on the Construction Site

Often oxy-fuel and PTW or permit-to-work systems are used on construction sites. If these are not handled carefully and adequate precautions are not taken when using these, they can pose to be ignition sources and cause a fire outbreak on the site.

Oxy-Fuel Equipment

Only workers that are trained should use oxy-fuel equipment. They should follow appropriate practices and precautions when using the oxy-fuel equipment.

Hoses should be colour coded to avoid any confusion. For example, blue for oxygen, orange for propane, etc. Non-return valves must be provided at the torch inlet and at the outlet from the gas cylinders on both the gas lines. All the devices should meet the specified standards.

Proprietary hoses must be used with proper hose-end connections. You must ensure that the oxygen supply is not contaminated by grease or oil. Clean all the components thoroughly before use. Ensure that all the equipment, especially the hoses, are in good condition and are not damaged before use. Any hose that is damaged should be discarded. When the equipment is assembled, check for any leaks by using soap solution.

The gas cylinders must be kept and used in an upright position and the length of the hose must be kept to a minimum to reduce the possibility of any damage. Empty drums should not be used for any hot work.

PTW Systems

Any hot work that generates heat, flames or sparks can cause a fire outbreak. PTW systems should be used to avoid any fires. If the amount of hot work on the construction site increases, the associated risks also increase, which requires formal PTW systems.

PTW systems are essentially management documents and should be allotted only by those with the authority to issue them. PTW systems should include the nature of hot work and the location of the same, the planned duration of the work, the time limit for which the permit is usable and the person who is in-charge of the work.

However, before the permit is given and the work mentioned can be undertaken, all the requirements stated in the PTW documents must be fulfilled.  PTW documents should not be issued as blanket permits to carry out hot work anytime and anywhere on the construction site. They should be issued for a particular job only prior to the job and once the activity at the particular location is completed, the PTW should end.

PTW systems are particularly beneficial if there are many hot work processes taking place on the construction site and there is plenty of combustible and flammable material present on the site that are present incidentally or as part of the structure.

Precautions to Be Taken During Hot Work and to Be Reflected in the PTW

The surrounding areas must be cleared and all loose combustible material must be removed. Even if work is happening on one side of the wall or partition, all combustible materials must be removed from both sides of the partition. Any combustible material that cannot be removed must be properly protected.

You must watch for any fires and have fire extinguishers at hand. The area of hot work must be checked properly after the work has been completed, even after some time after the work is finished as there is a potential risk of ignition occurring at a much later time also. All the rules must be communicated to the workers carrying out the hot work on the site.

There are potential risks of fire on the construction site when there is any hot work or oxy-fuel work going on. Adequate precautions must be taken when these works are being carried out on the site. Always keep a fire extinguisher handy for the workers to use if necessary.

Apart from this, it is a good idea to equip the site with Cygnus’ range of fire prevention and protection systems that can help your workers protect the site in case of a fire as Cygnus’ state-of-the-art fire protection equipment can assure the best safety of your workers and the worksite.