Part of the risk assessment for performing a hot tapping procedure is the need to carry out a site inspection at the location of the hot tapping operation. This blog post covers the main hazards that should be taken into consideration when carrying out your hot tapping site inspection.
The site should clear of all vehicles including mobile plant and lifting trucks that may have been used to position the hot tapping machine in-situ.
Slips, trips and falls
The area surround the site of the hot tap should have been cleared of all potential tripping hazards such as chains, packaging, tools or cables where possible.
Likewise, any spillages of substances likely to cause slippages such as oil or coolant must be cleared prior to the hot tapping operation to prevent slips (or fire).
Any areas that a person could fall down much be cordoned off.
All machine operators should have received manual handling training and work to the recommended safe lifting limits as prescribed by their organisation.
Where handling requires lifting equipment over the safe working limit such as the hot tapping machine, lifting gear should be used to prevent potential injury.
Operating a hot tapping machine will result in swarf being created and potentially flying through the air. As such, all hot tapping machine operators should wear the necessary eye and face protection.
Everyone around the site of the hot tapping procedure should wear protective footwear with steel toe caps. This is always the case when using on-site machine tools.
The area of the hot tap operation should have been checked thoroughly for traps and all operators should be aware of any rotating parts on the equipment that could cause fingers or hands to be injured. Safety guards and safe working distances should be used/observed where recommended.
All preventative measures should be take to ensure exposure to chemicals is minimised. Hot tapping procedures often require close contact with hazardous materials so full PPE should be worn all times.
Ear protection must be worn in all areas where noise levels will be levels greater than 85dBA.
The site must be checked for sources of electrical power. Where live power poses a potential risk to the hot tap operation the power supply should be shut down in advance of the operation.
Hot tapping procedure pose a serious fire risk so there should be the appropriate fire safety equipment to hand to deal with any fire, in or caused by, the machine.