What’s the issue?
The third most likely cause of a fire at your premises is an accident during welding, cutting or grinding by a third party contractor or engineer. Most commonly, this could be a plumber welding on site.
What is the relevance to my insurance?
Losses from fires involving hot works can run into millions of pounds. One recent claim handled by Zurich was estimated at nearly £20m not including the Business interruption and reputational damage that was incurred.
Statistics show that hot works is the third largest fire risk after electric and arson losses. Because of this, insurers have introduced strict wordings to avoid these losses, and they expect a Permit to Work system.
Failure to issue or adhere to the permit will result in your fire insurance being void.
Insurers are also now specifying the scope of the permit – the latest generations of permits should ensure no fire happens due to Hot Work on site.
What is it?
A Hot Work Permit is a multipart form that outlines roles and responsibility, and the scope and timing of work to take place.
It should be completed and issued based on previously completed risk assessments, method statements and fire risk assessment for the works, as well as a physical inspection of the work area, immediately prior to the work commencing.
What are the Regulations?
The following HSE publications can be used as guidance material relating to safety issues surrounding permit to work systems:
- HS(G)5 Hot work : welding and cutting on plant containing flammable materials, HSE (Not in current HSE list).
This has been finessed into an interactive guidance document by RISC Authority RC7, which can be downloaded from our website
What is the small print?
Your fire insurance policy will have a Hot Work condition – Where work involving use of a naked flame or other heat source or oxyacetylene, electric arc or similar welding, cutting, grinding or other spark emitting equipment by any person (whether a third party contractor, an employee or other) is carried out at the premises:
a) a hot work permit in the form set out in Loss Prevention Recommendation RC7 published by the Fire Protection Association (FPA) or the such similar permit or documentation, is completed jointly by the person responsible for carrying out the work and the insured’s safety officer (or nominated person) before such work commences; and
b) the precautions and systems of work shown on the designated hot work permit are complied with at each stage of the work.
Don’t worry I can recover from the contractor!
Generally contractors public liability claims fail! Any contractor’s liability insurance where the contractor uses heat will have a hot works condition or warranty applied to their public liability insurance wording. Contractors also have a £5m or £10m public liability limit which won’t stretch far.
Contractors are not liable in law for consequential loss or for the cost of rebuild, only a second hand building
What do I need to do?
Introduce a system to issue a compliant hot work permit and ensure these are completed and available for inspection (store digitally).
Where can I get a Permit – you can download a Hot Work Permit from the Castlemead website.
Castlemead has a wealth of knowledge in supporting and helping customers with ensuring that their business remain compliant around fire insurance. Contact us for more information.
Founded in 1987, Castlemead Insurance Brokers is an independent commercial insurance broker, specializing in Corporate Insurance, offering a full insurance broking and risk management service to our clients. Offices in the South-West of England, with clients across the UK, including Scotland and Channel Islands. Castlemead are experts in International Insurance Programmes and are partner members of the GBN Insurance network. We also have an EU subsidiary to aid placing insurance policies with modest EU Insurance risk