What is a Fire Watch? And Do You Need One?

Depending on the work being done, there may be a need to have hole and fire watch personnel on-site. These are vital professionals who can make sure that employees are able to complete their work in a safe and timely manner. But what exactly is a fire watch and when is it needed? 

Fire Watch is an OSHA Must

Part of OSHA mandates includes the need for fire watch personnel to be on-site where “hot work” is being conducted. That can include anything that involves welding or cutting with torches, for example. During this kind of work, heated metal can break off and land in surrounding areas. Fire watch personnel work on-site to watch for these instances that may lead to a live flame and often work alongside our confined space professionals depending on the environment.

At times, these professionals can be a part of those teams to make sure that cutting or welding metal does not result in a fire. Other times, they can be separate people that work on-site to ensure safe working conditions

At the heart of a fire watch professional’s responsibility is to alarm the team if there is an emergency. This ensures that firefighters are brought onto the scene as quickly as possible to control the fire. Fire watch professionals can work in short or long term assignments depending on the work being done and while they aren’t needed on every job, they are vital when the requirement arises. 

OSHA Fire Watch Requirements

Keeping workers safe in any environment is SITEX’s top priority. That includes hot areas where fire watch teams become more important. The complete OSHA guidelines around fire watch requirements can be found on their website, but knowing key firewatch responsibilities will give teams a good idea of when they need a fire watch team. 

SITEX trains its fire watch personnel to keep themselves and employees alert. This means knowing the location of any firefighting equipment and being on alert for any sparks that may cause a fire. Our professionals also maintain clear and consistent communication with the workers around them. This creates a more effective environment when it comes to keeping team members alert and safe. 

Work areas also need to be inspected during shifts, between shift changes, and before work begins. This level of due diligence helps identify potential fire starters like flammable liquids or vapors. Fire watch personnel also have the necessary equipment on hand if needed, and companies like SITEX offer equipment rentals for customers who want added assurances. 

Finally, our team members will double-check work areas for burning embers, hot sparks, or other hazards before they leave the space. They’ll also return equipment to a safe location and will never leave a worksite when work is being done. These are some of the basic requirements of a fire watch professional but doing them consistently and effectively can be the difference between a safe or dangerous environment for your employees. 

Where to Find Certified Fire Watch Professionals

Fire watch professionals can be found through various means. Some personnel can be found through local fire departments as off-duty firefighters may take up the role in off hours. However, SITEX team members are highly trained and experienced professionals who make this their sole livelihood. Working with trained professionals is always a great idea for these kinds of jobs as it lowers the risk to workers and liability to companies as SITEX shoulders the risk. 

Customers who work with SITEX for their fire watch needs gain access to numerous benefits beyond the obvious. That includes our full knowledge of the EH&S space as well as access to a deep understanding of previous work that’s been completed that may help with unforeseen circumstances that arise during projects. When you’re dealing with something as unpredictable as fire, it’s always best to work with a predictable partner like SITEX.

Contact us today to discuss your fire watch needs and see how SITEX can help.