After unpermitted welding at a Boston brownstone prompted a nine-alarm fire that killed Lieutenant Edward Walsh and firefighter Michael Kennedy in March 2014, Boston Fire officials reached out to NFPA looking for help reducing welding risks in the city. The two organizations lobbied with fire, building, safety, and trades leaders to get the city’s fire code updated so that all workers on a job are now required to earn a hot work safety certificate before pulling a permit. That safety mandate was then extended throughout the Commonwealth.
To better inform anyone engaged in any activity involving flame or spark production in Boston, NFPA developed classroom training that has educated tens of thousands of construction workers about hot work safety. NFPA then developed a Hot Work Safety Certificate Online Training course to ensure that more hot work supervisors and laborers were being informed across the nation - this training won a Brandon Hall Group gold award for excellence and is also available in Spanish.
The hot work material is presented in an interactive and engaging 90-minute eLearning format. While the training was developed in response to specific local needs it was created in a way that is relevant to anyone wishing to improve job site safety knowledge or to any state/jurisdiction wishing to implement safety requirements like the Bay State has.
Time and again, we hear about hot work prompting large fires during reconstruction or rehab or when new buildings are being constructed. The catastrophic explosion in Beirut, Lebanon this summer that killed at least 177, injured about 6,000, caused an estimated 10–15 billion (USD) in property damage, and left approximately 300,000 homeless was one such incident.
The Hot Work Safety Certificate Online Training opens with news footage of the deadly Beacon Street fire and includes an interview with the mother of one of the deceased Boston firefighters. The story is woven throughout the course, conveys the seriousness of the content, and enables the learner to:
• Identify relevant standards, regulations, and ordinances that are applicable to hot work
• Describe the systems approach to hot work safety
• Define and identify hot work and hot work hazards
• Describe hot work evaluation requirements
• Describe hot work safety team roles and responsibilities
• Describe hot work permit requirements
In addition to generating relevant research on hot work, NFPA has a dedicated landing page with resources in both English and Spanish. Visit nfpa.org/hotwork to find the definition for hot work, insight on safety risks, ways to minimize harm, alternatives to hot work, and links to other helpful content.