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In 1984 a rescuer was killed when an explosion occurred while he and his coworkers were attempting to cut a hole in a toluene tank to retrieve a worker who had died entering the confined space.  The accident, captured on video, provides a graphic view of the hazards of performing hot work around confined spaces. 

This incident was not unique.  Fatalities from welding and hot work are often are associated with confined spaces and the areas adjacent to these confined spaces .  The CSB has identified over 60 fatalities since 1990 due to explosions and fires from hot work activities on tanks, which are, of course, confined spaces.  The CSB defines hot work as “work involving burning, welding, or a similar operation that is capable of initiating fires or explosions. Hot work also includes other activities with the potential to create a source of ignition such as cutting, brazing, grinding, and soldering.”  CSB has released a Hot Work Safety Bulletinthat describes 11 incidents and has concluded that a critical factor in many of the accidents was the lack of continuous gas monitoring prior to or during the hot work activities.   CSB noted that in many of the incidents there was inadequate monitoring not only in the confined spaces but also in the spaces adjacent to the confined space.

 There are many organizations that have developed welding safety information.  Each deals with a particular type of industry or specific work to be performed.  For example, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has several standards related to welding including NFPA 51B  Standard for Fire Prevention during Welding, Cutting and Other Hot Work, NFPA 306 for the Control of Gas Hazards on Vessels (for the marine industry), and 326 Standard for the Safeguarding of Tanks and Containers for Entry, Cleaning and Repair .   The American Welding Society (AWS) publishes a standard, AWS Z49.1 Safety In Welding and Cutting and Allied Processes, as well as numerous fact sheets and welding safety information.   The American Petroleum Institute (API) has numerous standards related to welding on petroleum tanks including  API 653 Tank Inspection, Repair, Alteration, and Reconstruction,  API RP 2009 Safe Welding and Cutting Practices in Refineries, Gasoline Plants, and Petrochemicals Plants and  API Std 2015 Safe Entry and Cleaning of Petroleum Storage Tanks, Planning and Managing Tank Entry From Decommissioning Through Recommissioning.  API also publishes a number of other standards for specific processes that may involve welding or other hot work.    And Federal OSHA has several welding standards and has a health and safety topic page dedicated specifically to welding.

The inherent hazards associated with welding are complicated when welding is done in or around a confined space.  The information available on welding safety is vast, but the connection between welding hazards and confined spaces must be made in order to decrease injuries and fatalities that occur from hot work. 

In 2008 the Foundation conducted a comprehensive assessment of the installed cost of home fire sprinklers across the U.S. 

NFPA has recommissioned the study to review current costs against the 2008 benchmark study to better understand the relationship between adoptions, various elements of cost (installation, materials) and total costs, how efficiency in design or installation may be introduced, and other innovations. NFPA70ROCCoverThe Annual 2013 Report on Comments (ROC) for NFPA 70, National Electrical Code® (NEC), is now

This Report contains a compilation of the documented actions on comments received by the NEC code-making panels for the 2013 annual revision cycle.

The deadline to submit a Notice of Intent to Make a Motion (NITMAM) is May 3, 2013Download a NITMAM form (docx, 34 KB)

Outdoor electricalWe've just published a brand new safety tip sheet on outdoor electrical safety!It's important to remember that lighting to improve the look and safety of our homes, electric tools to make our outdoor work easier, and power lines to our home, all need to be handled with care. Here are some examples of the safety tips:

Outside electrical work:

  • Have a qualified electrician do all electrical work.
  • To prevent an electrical shock, make sure all your outside electrical receptacles are GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protected.

Equipment safety:

  • Use lighting and power tools that have the label of an independent test laboratory and made for outdoor use.
  • Keep electric tools away from children.
  • Check lighting and extension cords for damage before using. Replace any damaged cords right away. 

Power lines:

  • Have a professional tree cutting service trim branches that might fall on electric woring. 
  • Keep the ladder at least 10 feet away from power lines. 
  • Never touch anyone or anything in contact with a downed wire. Power lines may be live, stay a safe distance away. 

Download the full safety tip sheet with NFPA safety tips on outdoor electricity.

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