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What’s the most ‘challenging’ risk requirement?

Despite being relatively simple to implement, permits to work relating to hot works present the greatest challenge when it comes to policyholders meeting insurer’s risk requirements, according to new data.

Plumber using blow torch on piping in building

RiskSTOP Ltd revealed that policyholders take around 2 months on average to comply with hot works requirements. Hot works compliance rates also fall short of the usual 88% achieved by RiskSTOP’s team of Risk Management Advisors, who assist policyholders in meeting risk requirements set by underwriters.

“Each year we guide around 45,000 policyholders in relation to hot works, in fact, it’s the fifth most common requirement we deal with,” said Tom Allison, Team Leader at RiskSTOP. "Currently, only around 60% of those we’re helping have confirmed they’re compliant. However, of all the risk requirements we guide people around, hot works is probably one of the easiest to put in place.

"It’s really just a matter of confirming a permit to work template has been drafted and will be used if any hot works, including of course by contractors, are ever carried out.”

Simple misunderstanding Tom went on to explain that the most common issue raised by policyholders is ‘we never do any hot works’.

“We always explain that hot works are most often carried by contractors, such as plumbers or builders, when refurbishment or maintenance work is needed, and that it is important that a ‘permit to work’ process is in place whenever this happens.

“It’s about making sure contractors have appropriate risk assessments and method statements in relation to the proposed work,” said Tom. “Permits to work help to ensure the work is to be carried out in the safest possible manner and importantly, that the contractor is competent to undertake the proposed work and that they have adequate liability insurances.”

Often unplanned Tom added: “Hot works are often unplanned and can include any type of work involving the use of gas or electric welding or cutting apparatus, blow lamps, blow torches, grinding wheels, cutting discs, or bitumen or tar boilers.

“Perhaps people feel it’s not really their place to seek more information from contractors about the work they’re carrying out, but the problem is things can go very badly wrong and when they do the consequences can be severe. It has been estimated that 15% of all commercial and industrial fires are caused by hot works.”

Many insurers provide templates for hot work permits, and they’re also often freely available from trade bodies and local authorities online.

Find out more about how RiskSTOP Risk Improvement Assistance (RIA) helps policyholders stay safe and secure and meet their risk improvement requirements here.



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