A Permit Isn’t Enough! Equipping Yourself for Safe Hot Work

Let’s be honest: a hot work permit doesn’t make a job, or person, safe any more than a driving licence makes someone a great driver.

Let’s be honest: a hot work permit doesn’t make a job, or person, safe any more than a driving licence makes someone a great driver.

That’s why industry professionals we speak to every day about creating safer working areas, despite the presence of hazardous or dangerous conditions, always have one thing in common: the ethos that ‘it isn’t just about the permit’ because safer systems of work, safer environments and safer attitudes to work are all part of the broader foundations of safety.

They also realise that creating a safer environment for work often means using the right equipment to create smarter, more efficient working as this means less time on-site. The result? Reduced exposure to risk with less budget spent.

Our latest blog introduces hot work, looks at some specific scenarios of note and explores how specialist equipment can deliver that safer, better setting on-site for those carrying out hot work.

Read on to discover hot work basics PLUS essential equipment recommendations everyone involved in hot work should see.


Even for seasoned engineering and trade professionals, time spent running through a reminder of some safety basics is never time wasted.

After all, the UK Health and Safety Executive points out that, even just looking at hot work in docks, such work “has resulted in many serious fires and explosions that have caused death and serious injuries”. The HSE adds that, incredibly, as early as 1847 legislation existed to try to improve hot work safety (some still exists to this day!).

Defining hot work is very straightforward: it’s simply the possible presence of hydrocarbon vapours in the atmosphere and the existence of potential ignition sources.

That ignition could be caused by:

• Use of open flame

• Applying heat 

• Applying friction

Meaning many of the activities carried out on-site by our clients, from welding to torch cutting and soldering, are described as hot work.

In the UK, the HSE expects an employer to make sure safety precautions have been taken, ensure any contractors are competent to carry out work safely and always have clarity around who is taking responsibility for safety procedures.

In many cases a hot work permit will be to make sure procedures are followed and will include information covering:

• Hot work location and description 

• How long the hot work will take   

• The time limits for the hot work permit 

• The precautions needed before, during and after the work 

• The person in direct control of the work 

The documents, in short, mean work must be carried out against previously agreed safety procedures.

The possible precautions could include keeping the work area free from flammable materials and gas-free air that’s safe for the operator to breathe, appropriate PPE and making sure no smouldering residues remain while – of course – ensuring proper records are kept.

Reminder: A hot work permit isn’t a replacement for a culture of safety and broader safe systems within a team. See the end of this blog to discover how safer, purpose-made equipment, can help achieve this goal and more.


Let’s take a look at some specific areas of particular interest where hot work is often carried out, specifically designated and gas safe areas.

Carrying out hot work in each involves being aware that:

• Hot work in a designated area: A pre-approved and fire-safe place, such as a maintenance area or outside location, will already be designed to be safe for hot work thanks to factors such as the resistant-design of any structure, the absence of flammable materials and segregation from other working area.

A hot work permit isn’t needed for a designated area but the requirement for safe, efficient working very much remains.

• Hot work outside a designated area: Therefore, it’s very likely that a hot work permit will be required for hot work in other areas where the possible presence of hydrocarbon vapours in the atmosphere and the existence of potential ignition sources will exist.

Preparing the best possible working environment for safe, efficient is beyond the scope of a permit but unlocks a better, working area with quicker completion of the task.

Again, it can’t be said too often that, regardless of the working area, safety begins with the culture and systems within a company or project and that the right equipment choices can greatly enhance these factors.


Industry-leading businesses who work with SA Equip to prepare work areas using our purpose made equipment, such as SA Equip’s certified and portable heat, light, air and power products, understand that a great deal can be achieved with the right equipment choice.

For safe and efficient hot work, our specialists strongly recommend that two types of equipment are examined as ways to prepare the working area and ensure safer working

• Specialist lighting: Exceptionally high quality, LED portable lighting specifically designed for hazardous and dangerous conditions will mean the benefit of quick set-up, high performance, reliability, ease of use and quick removal from the working area.

Such lighting is also ATEX and IECEX certified to avoid causing an ignition and can be used to create a well-lit, safe working area with the reassurance that formal hazardous area testing of the product has been carried out.

The full specification of SA LUMIN specialist lighting including head torches, area lights, rechargeable floodlights and worklights can be seen here.

• Specialist ventilation: Again, looking for portable products made for challenging worksites and carrying ATEX and IECEX certifications can mean safer air can be created in working areas quickly, easily and dependably.

Thousands of offshore workers, shipbuilders, utilities operatives, chemical maintenance crews and refurb teams around the world rely on the SA CYCLONE range of products – fans, ducting, filter units, couplers and adaptors – to keep them working safely, comfortably and effectively, whatever the conditions.

To find out more about the best use of both lighting and ventilation products, discover insightful case studies here showing how safer, quicker and – ultimately – cost-saving working can be made possible with the right choice of SA Equip portable equipment.


for help with choosing the right equipment, to request a demonstration or to find out more about our bespoke equipment service.

See also: Why Explosion Proof Lighting Offers Benefits Beyond Safety, Working in Low Temperatures? A Time-Saving Essential