Things you need to know about NFPA 51B
1. What Is the scope of the Standard?
NFPA 51B provides provisions to prevent loss of life and property from fire or explosion as a result of hot work.
2. What other organizations now look to NFPA 51B as the recognized standard for hot work practices?
NFPA 51B is now the hot works protocol referenced by the following agencies:
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 29 CFR 1910.252
- Department of Energy (DOE) – 10 CFR 851
- American Petroleum Institute (API) – API 2009
3. What are some of the new materials or revisions in the 2019 Edition?
“The 2019 edition includes new definitions on fire protection system, fire monitoring, and fire watch, and language was added to Chapter 5 to differentiate between fire watch and fire monitoring requirements.” Chapter 5 has several new sections for the covering of combustible floors, shielding of combustibles, covering of opening or cracks, with listed welding curtains, welding blankets, welding pads.
– Page 7 of 2019 Standard
4. How does the Standard define Welding Blankets, Curtains and Pads?
Welding Blanket — A heat-resistant fabric listed, approved, and designed to be placed in the vicinity of a hot work operation; intended for use in horizontal applications with light to moderate exposures such as that resulting from chipping, grinding, heat treating, sand blasting and light horizontal welding; designed to protect machinery and prevent ignition of combustibles such as wood that are located adjacent to the underside of the blanket.
Welding Curtain — A heat-resistant fabric listed, approved and designed to be placed in the vicinity of a hot work operation, intended for use in vertical applications with light to moderate exposures such as that resulting from chipping, grinding, heat treating, sand blasting, and light horizontal welding; designed to prevent sparks from escaping a confined area.
Welding Pad — A heat-resistant fabric listed, approved, and designed to be placed directly under a hot work operation such as welding or cutting, intended for use in horizontal applications with severe exposures such as that resulting from molten substances or heavy horizontal welding; designed to prevent the ignition of combustibles that are located adjacent to the underside of the pad.
5. What does the Standard say about the Responsibility for Hot Work?
4.1 “Management shall be responsible for the safe operations of hot work activity.”
4.2 ” Permit Authorizing Individual (PAI) In conjunction with management , the PAI shall be responsible for the safe operation of hot work activities.
– Page 6 of 2019 Standard
6. What is the requirement for Listed or Approved Materials on a Hot Work Permit?
The Standard includes a sample Hot Work Permit that includes “requirements within 35 ft (11m) of hot work.” One of the requirements is:
- Other combustible storage material removed or covered with listed or approved materials (welding pads, blankets, or curtains; fire-resistive tarpaulins), metal shield, or noncombustible materials.
7. Why is using Certified Fabrics important?
In order for welding blankets, curtains, and pads to meet ANSI/FM 4950 they must undergo and pass stringent third-party testing, certification and ongoing audit procedures, and meet the conditions for safety, performance and quality. In addition, manufacturers must maintain a quality control program and submit to manufacturing facility inspections as part of the Approval process.
Annex A: Explanatory Material
Annex A is not part of the requirements of this NFPA document but is included for informational purposes.
A.3.3.6 Welding and Allied Processes. The “Master Chart of Welding and Allied Processes” in ANSI Z491. Safety in Welding, Cutting, and Allied Processes, includes a list of welding and allied processes.
A.3.37 Welding Blanket. One such listing includes ANSI/FM 4950, American National Standard for Evaluating Welding Pads, Welding Blankets and Curtains for Hot Work Operations.
A.3.3.8 Welding Curtain. Once such listing includes ANSI/FM 4950. American National Standard for Evaluating Welding Pads, Welding Blankets and Curtains for Hot Work Operations.
A.3.3.9 Welding Pads. Once such listing includes ANSI/FM 4950. American National Standard for Evaluating Welding Pads, Welding Blankets and Curtains for Hot Work Operations.