CE Safety, the health and safety training provider, has submitted a Freedom of Information request to Scottish Fire & Rescue Service to find out the number of fires reported in the construction industry caused by hot works.

According to the figures, there were 180 fires in the construction industry in 2018/19, a staggering 143 (79 per cent) of which were the result of hot works.

Fifty-one fires during this period were caused by welding or cutting equipment, 22 by manufacturing equipment and 23 by kilns or other services. These fires resulted in 21 casualties.

Hot works refer to any task that requires using open flames or applying heat or friction which may generate sparks or heat.

More specifically, it is defined by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in BS 9999 as: “Any procedure that might involve or have the potential to generate sufficient heat, sparks or flame to cause a fire.” Examples of hot works include welding, flame-cutting, soldering, brazing, grinding and the use of other equipment incorporating a flame.

Hot works poses a particular threat within the construction sector as the cause of multiple fires in buildings.

The most common examples of hot works and those that can pose significant risks without proper safety precautions are for example:

  • Brazing and soldering
  • Gas/electric welding cutting apparatus
  • Grinding wheels and cutting discs
  • Thawing pipes
  • Open flames, blow lamps and blow torches
  • Bitumen and tar boilers
  • Hot air blowers and lead heaters.

Further information on Hot Works can be found on the CE Safety website.