Hot Work

The University of Northern Iowa has implemented a hot work management program to prevent hot work fires and explosions, and mitigate hot work fires. The program is applicable to both UNI employees and contractors conducting hot work anywhere on campus whether building or equipment installation or alterations. 

This program is written to comply with OSHA 1910 Subpart Q - Welding, Cutting and Brazing.


Fire Monitoring: Methods such as automatic smoke detection system, video cameras, presence of trained operators and personnel to patrol areas following the completion of the post work fire watch.

Fire Watch: Continuous supervision of the hot work area and the person performing the work to ensure fire safe conditions are maintained during work and post work.

Hot work: Any temporary or routine work (operation) involving open-flame, producing hot surfaces, and/or generating sparks or molten material of sufficient energy to ignite combustible, ignitable, and/or flammable materials. Examples of hot work operations include torch-applied roofing, pipe brazing, pipe soldering, arc and torch welding, radial-mechanical and torch cutting, grinding, and post-weld heating using a gas-fired burner or electrical resistance heater.

Hot work area: The space surrounding a hot work site defined by the horizontal or vertical reach of hot work ignition sources. Within this area combustible, ignitable, and flammable materials are temporarily removed or isolated. 

Hot work designated area: An area of a facility in which hot work can be conducted without a hot work permit if combustible, ignitable, or flammable materials remain controlled or safeguarded. Designated hot work rooms must be approved by UNI Risk Management which will refer to FM Global Data Sheet 10-3 in the selection and approval of hot work designated areas. All hot work designated areas will be inspected annually by UNI Risk Management for reapproval.

Hot Work fire: A fire caused by hot work that is outside of its intended boundaries or that becomes uncontrollable.

Hot Work Permit: A two-part form that outlines the process for successfully managing all hot work at a facility.

Hot work permit-required area: An area in a facility in which hot work can be conducted only with a hot work permit and in a fire-safe manner (i.e., with required precautions in place). Typically, these areas are the portions of a facility that are outside hot work designated areas.

Hot work site: The location of the work activity where hot work ignition sources originate.

Permit Authorizer: Person who decides if there’s a safer way to conduct the operation and, if hot work is unavoidable, implements the Hot Work Permit system for the operation. This is a qualified individual who has been trained on this program.

Portable fire watch system, FM Approved: A device suitable for monitoring for smoke and flame during post-hot work fire watches and fire monitoring periods.

Permitting Procedure

When considering the use of hot work operations, the following steps should be taken: (a) seek alternative cold work methods; (b) consider relocating the work to a hot work designated area; and (c) use a hot work permit when conducting work outside hot work designated areas.

Alternative Cold Work Methods

The most effective way to prevent a hot work fire or explosion is to aggressively pursue alternative cold work methods. Alternative cold work methods should be explored whenever hot work is considered. Cold work is an inherently safer method from a fire or explosion risk standpoint because the operation does not create an ignition source.

Hot Work Operation

Alternative Cold Work Method

Thawing ice plugs in piping (in place) using an open-flame

Mechanical removal and relocation of frozen piping to a heated area

Torch cutting

Hydraulic shear cutting (metal-working)

Radial saw cutting (metal-working)

Reciprocating saw cutting (metal-working)

Welding (metal-working)

Mechanical bolting

Soldering metal pipe joints

Threaded, flanged, coupling, or mechanical pipe joints

Torch-applying roof cover systems

Mechanically fastened or fully-adhered roof cover system

Puddle welding steel roof decking to structural members

Mechanically fastened steel roof deck to structural members


Consider Relocating the Work to a Hot Work Designated Area

If cold work methods are not available, the next best way to prevent a hot work fire or explosion is to relocate the work to a hot work designated area. These areas do not require a hot work  if combustible, ignitable, or flammable materials remain controlled or safeguarded.

Permit Number




KAB 134

Sculpture Lab



Sculpture Lab Yard


ITC 080

Metal Casting Center


ITC 015

Production Lab Welding Area


UAP 3900K

H&D Maintenance shop


PHP 016

Plumbing Shop


PHP 019

Automotive shop


PHP 040

HVAC shop


SWT 114

SWT Fab Shop


PAC 033

PAC Fab Shop


PHP 059

Grounds Shop at Facilities Management


SB 001

Grounds Shop on S. Court Dr.



Power Plant Maintenance Shop



Power Plant Shop Area


NRV 054-1

Tallgrass Prairie Garage


TWK 101

Large Room With Three Smaller Enclosures 


Hot Work Permit System

If hot work that requires a permit is unavoidable, as a last resort use the hot work permitting process. When using a hot work permit, protect the facility by removing or isolating combustible/flammable material form the hot work area; confining hot work ignition sources within the hot work area; protecting the hot work designated area with fire protection systems and equipment; and supervising the hot work site during work and following work completion. 

  1. All hot work permits will be reviewed and authorized by the designated permit authorizer.
  2. All contractors will be required to use the university’s hot work permits
    1. In these cases the permit authorizer shall consult with the Facilities Management employee assigned as the Lead to the specific project. This individual knows the details of the contractor’s project and is a main point of contact for the contractor (e.g. Construction Project Manager).
  3. All facility and contractor personnel conducting hot work, performing fire watch, or fire monitoring will be trained on the hot work permit system at least annually. Permit authorizers will also be trained at least annually.
  4. A management assessment of the program, including a review of program records and facility changes, will be conducted at least annually.
  5. An incident log of all hot work fires will be maintained, in which deficiencies and corrective actions will be identified. All hot work fires will immediately be reported to UNI Risk Management.
  6. Permit-required hot work will be provided with post-work fire watches and fire monitoring periods as shown below.
  Noncombustible construction or FM Approved Class 1 or Class A building materials.Combustible construction without concealed cavities.Combustible construction with unprotected concealed cavities.







Noncombustible with any combustibles contained within closed equipment.30 Minutes0 Hours1 Hour3 Hours1 Hour5 Hours
Office, retail, or manufacturing with limited combustible loading. 1 Hour1 Hour1 Hour3 Hours1 Hour5 Hours
Manufacturing with moderate to significant combustible loading.1 Hour2 Hours1 Hour3 Hours1 Hour5 Hours
Warehousing1 Hour2 Hours1 Hour3 Hours1 Hour5 Hours
Exceptions: Occupancies with processing or bulk storage of combustible materials capable of supporting slow-growing fires.1 Hour3 Hours1 Hour3 Hours1 Hour5 Hours



All employees involved in hot work will complete annual hot work training. This training will include:

  1. Types of hot work permitting areas.
  2. Permit authorization process
  3. Permit expiration and reauthorization procedures

Contractors will be responsible for providing their staff with the appropriate hot work training.


Hot work does not include the use of candles, laboratory activities, pyrotechnics or special effects, and cooking equipment. However, these activities may be subject to other UNI safety programs (e.g. Open Flame).