Minneapolis employees who use spark or fire-producing tools to perform hot work, such as soldering, cutting, grinding, brazing, welding and burning, face many dangers on a daily basis. Whenever hot work takes place, there is the danger of a fire or explosion if a spark encounters combustible materials or flammable vapors. To reduce the risk of an accumulation of flammable gases, which can result in serious burn injuries to employees, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration advises the use of gas detectors to monitor hot work areas. If combustible or flammable gas surpasses 10 percent of its lower explosive limit, work should immediately cease.

The federal agency further recommends employees use guards to protect immovable fire hazards by confining sparks, slag and heat. Workers should also have quick access to fire extinguishers and other equipment to help them deal with an emergency.

Grinding equipment poses serious dangers to workers as well. Besides sending out sparks of flying metal debris, grinding machines can easily cause employees to suffer a serious injury if they get their hands or fingers stuck in the grinding wheel. In regards to safety procedures for grinding work, OSHA recommends employers ensure the equipment is inspected before each use. The agency also recommends that employees who use the equipment wear personal protective gear and that fire-deterrent equipment and fireguards are present in the workplace.

Most employees who are injured in a workplace accident while performing their job-related duties are entitled to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits under their employer’s insurance coverage. In most cases these benefits are available regardless of who was at fault. An attorney can often be of assistance in the preparation of the required claim and in ensuring that it is filed within the required time period.

Source: Safety and Health, “Staying safe when performing hot work”, Nov. 27, 2016