The requirement of hot work may not be overruled during alterations, modifications, expansions or maintenance jobs. Hot work permit at some organizations asks for the requirement of welding blankets, welding pads or welding curtains. Apart from portable fire extinguishers these hold their importance with respect to hot work safety.
Welding Pads are used for fire hazards that may arise out of heavy welding jobs. In such jobs there may be risk of fire due to melting of metal on other material or heat release when there is heavy welding operation carried out. Welding pads do not allow the heat of themolten metal to escape to the material underneath or adjacent to the place of hot work.
Welding Blankets: - The purpose of welding blankets is similar to that of welding pads. The only difference is that welding pads are used where there is greater risk due to welding or where molten metal may be a probability while welding blanket is used where comparatively less severe welding operations are carried out. The material to be protected is covered by the welding blanket and the blanket doesn’t allow the heat of sparks andspatter to reach the material.
Welding Curtains are used to confine a particular area for hot work purpose. The sparks and heat may not reach the area outside the welding curtains. While welding pads and blankets are for vertical protection welding curtains are specifically to confine the hot work area so that the heat may not reach the combustibles in the surrounding area.
For example if welding has to be done for pipeline supports and there is a fuel tank underneath there always remains a hazard of ignition of fuel. In such case welding blanket may be helpful. Welding curtains may help where welding has to be done in an area where the combustibles or man movement may not be avoided.
To avoid hot work at workplace is always the best option however it is not practically possible to find out the alternate methods for hot work. Sometimes it is not feasible while sometimes the other rules contradict. At such times welding pads, welding blankets or welding curtains may prove useful.